The World's Greatest Philanthropists

Levelling the playing field

What the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has set out to do is audacious but worthy

Dawid Bilski

It’s truly a case of arriving curious and leaving inspired. It’s a balmy morning in Seattle as we enter the 11,000 sq ft Visitor Center of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), arguably the world’s most powerful with over $40 billion in endowments. A brief walkabout inside the Center, which is divided into a series of six galleries, drills in how much we take for granted, the life of relative privilege that all of us have been born into. For instance, alongside the glass façade of the building is the Walk for Water exhibit that has footprints burned into the wood floor to show how far some people must go to get water to drink, cook and clean. Not only have Olson Kundig Architects and Studio Matthews put in a lot of thought into designing the entire experience, the layout is peppered with exhibits that comprehensively depict how the foundation is making life easier for the millions whose paths will never possibly cross that of their benefactors.