MONEY IS BUYING HAPPINESS FOR MELINDA GATES, WHO SAYS SHE FINDS HER JOY IN CONNECTING TO THE PEOPLE HER CHARITY HELPS -- "60 MINUTES"
Money can buy you happiness if you use it to stop infant death in a place like India or to eradicate polio and malaria where it continues to kill in the Third World. Those are but a few of the goals Melinda Gates and her husband Microsoft founder Bill have in mind for their vast wealth. And for Melinda, it provides her joy she says she gets when she's with the people her money helps. Melinda and Bill Gates talk to Scott Pelley about their vast charitable foundation in a 60 MINUTES segment to be broadcast Sunday, October 3 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Melinda says she's not into material wealth like cosmetics or jewelry and finds more meaning in the lives of others in need. "I don't find great joy in those things. I find much more joy in connecting with people," she says. "I'm much more at home being what I call out on the ground doing this work...that's where I find meaning. I don't find meaning in material things," says one of the richest women in the world.
The Gates say the basic principle of their charitable giving - about $60 billion is the latest figure that they have to give away - is that life is precious. "Our belief is that all lives, no matter where they are lived on the globe, have equal value, all lives," stresses Melinda. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation studies the conditions and diseases that cause the most deaths. "HIV/AIDS, malaria, mother-and-child deaths, in that order," Melinda tells Pelley.
"When you looked at where the largest number of deaths were on the planet, they were from things like AIDS, malaria and these childhood deaths," she says. "And nobody was giving voice to them...really tackling them. So, we said systematically, those are places that we want to go and work."
Pelley goes to India with her to look in on her program to help prevent childbirth death; it's the most important to her. By teaching women to use sterilized instruments and keep their newborns warm, programs funded by the Gates Foundation have helped reduced such deaths in the area by 54 percent. Add in vaccinations against childhood diseases and some real progress can be made. "These deaths of children under five have come down substantially. In 1960 it was 20 million under the age of five that died. Now it's nine million children. That's still too many," says Melinda.