To be completely independent of the foundation — and created with an investment of the couple's personal funds — the Gates Policy Initiative will be focused on global health, global development, efforts to move people from poverty to employment, and education in the United States, with an emphasis on better outcomes for African-American, Latinx, and rural students. Rob Nabors, a director at the Gates Foundation who previously served as White House director of legislative affairs under former President Barack Obama, will lead the initiative as executive director.
Nabors told The Hill that GPI will work in a bipartisan way and will avoid statements and giving in support of political candidates. "Bill and Melinda have a long history of engaging the executive branch, the legislative branch, in a bipartisan way, I don't see that changing," said Nabors. "In terms of political giving or statements in support of political candidates, Bill and Melinda have been very clear that we will not be doing that type of activity through the (c)(4). We are focused almost exclusively on legislative outcomes and the lobbying effort."
The organization instead will focus on identifying which strategies are most effective in terms of moving the policy needle — and the Gateses will "shutter the shop and figure out what else could potentially be done" if they are not successful within a couple of years, Nabors told The Hill.
"Probably the most important point for us is similar to the way Bill and Melinda have approached their philanthropic giving and other things that they do. They are interested in learning what works and what doesn't work," Nabors added. "I think that experimental type of approach, that innovative type of approach, is both relatively unique in this space and embedded into the DNA that Bill and Melinda bring with them."