Guest post by Chemtchr. Part One of Two.
Philanthropy wonk Lucy Bernholz defines the buzzword leverage as "the idea that you can use a little money to access a lot of money."
It's hard to think of the Gates Foundation's $26 billion leverage effort as "a little money", especially since it's been spread over the globe to gain access to vastly more resources than it contributes, including U.S. tax dollars, the foreign exchange of emerging African nations, and United Nations funds for international development and world health.
Gates' leveraged philanthropy model is a public-private partnership to improve the world, partly through targeted research support but principally through public advocacy and tax-free lobbying to influence government policy. The goal of these policies is often to explicitly support profitability for corporate investors, whose enterprises are seen by the Gates Foundation as advancing human good. However, maximum corporate profit and public good often clash when its projects are implemented.
For example, chemical giant Monsanto has partnered with the Gates Foundation, which reportedly works to suppress local seed exchanges and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices through its global agricultural charity work.Fraud-prone drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is a partner in the Foundation's work to leverage its own relatively fractional contribution to vaccination efforts, so that it centrally controls enormous world funds for purchase, pricing, and delivery of vaccines for world public health. And in its U.S. education reform charity work, the Gates Foundation has increasingly shifted its funding to promote market domination by its British corporate education services partner, Pearson Education.