Jeff Raikes has kept a pretty low profile in his first year as chief executive of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The man who built Microsoft Office now runs the largest private foundation in the world, which gives out more than $3 billion a year from an endowment of $30 billion.
Raikes recently talked about the fallout of the economic crisis on the foundation, the importance of risk taking and failure in philanthropy, and his experience working with Melinda Gates, which he said has been the most fun. He spoke at a breakfast last week sponsored by the Puget Sound Business Journal. (I couldn’t get in, but thanks to the Seattle Channel I was able to watch it here).
Not a lot of what he said was new, but he did reveal some insights from his first year, including how serious the stock market plunge hit the Gates Foundation.
“The biggest impact by far is on our partners and the people that our partners and we strive to serve,” he said. “It’s one of those things if you think about it you get a little depressed.”