The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.
The foundation, based in Seattle, Washington, is controlled by its three trustees: Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett. Other principal officers include Co-Chair William H. Gates, Sr. and Chief Executive Officer Susan Desmond-Hellmann.
It had an endowment of US$44.3 billion as of December 31, 2014. The scale of the foundation and the way it seeks to apply business techniques to giving makes it one of the leaders in venture philanthropy, though the foundation itself notes that the philanthropic role has limitations. In 2007, its founders were ranked as the second most generous philanthropists in America, and Warren Buffett the first.
As of May 16, 2013, Bill Gates had donated US$28 billion to the foundation. Since its foundation, the foundation has endowed and supported a broad range of social, health, and education developments including the establishment of the Gates Cambridge Scholarships at Cambridge University.