Community & Government

Let Your Values Guide Your Giving

Melinda French Gates

Lesson time 10:35 min

Melinda encourages members to tap into their personal values in order to find causes that align with their personal goals and beliefs.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Melinda's Core Values• Learn From Teachers Along the Way• Let Gratitude Guide You• Exercise: List Your Values


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I think it's really important to reflect on your values before you start giving because I think your values are what should drive pretty much everything you do in life. And so giving is just one aspect of your life, but I think if you reflect on your values, it will help you decide how do I want to use my resources, how do I want to use my time, how would I use my expertise, or how would I use my voice? I think in any of those things, you want it to come from your deep seated values so that everything aligns. [MUSIC PLAYING] - My three core values are to whom much is given, much is expected, every life has equal value, and everybody should have the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life. And then my third value is really if you lift up women, they lift up humanity. This idea of to whom much is given, much is expected I learned in high school. I went to a high school whose motto was serviam, a Catholic girls high school. That is to serve. And so I learned that idea in high school that if you had something to give back, even time or money, you should go back and give it in the community. Now, I certainly never expected to be in the situation where the vast resources that had come from Microsoft would also be coming through me. I feel a responsibility to give it back in a very responsible and thoughtful way. And you know, the truth is that there isn't equal opportunity for everybody in the world. I mean that's my second animating principle, which is I do believe all lives have equal value, but we don't treat them that way. I mean, literally, just because of where you're born in the world has a determining effect of whether you're going to survive to your fifth birthday, just literally by what country and community you're born in. That is not equal opportunity. And so I feel like with these resources that come from Microsoft, we want to make sure in the way we give back that every child has a chance to grow up healthy and productive in life. And that means working in some of the poorest places in the world so that a child survives the first month of life, survives the first year of life, and survives the first five years of life in a very healthy way. At the very beginning of our philanthropy, I definitely knew that I believed all lives have equal value and that not everybody had the same opportunity in life, but I didn't know how strongly I felt about lifting up women. I thought that if we lifted up, you know, men and women in a community that you'd get an equal result. But it turned out that the field was pretty biased, that the way we were programming, and our partners were, we were inadvertently just lifting up the men and not the women. And I started to realize I have this core value of lifting up women. I really believe in that diversity of thought and how it will change society if they have more of their voice, more resources in their hands. And so I had to actually then go back...

About the Instructor

One of the greatest philanthropists in history, Melinda French Gates has dedicated her life to giving back to the world. Now she’s teaching how you can identify your own unique assets—time, money, specific skills, or even your voice to discover a strategic path that can turn your power into progress.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Melinda French Gates

A philanthropist and advocate for women and girls, Melinda French Gates teaches you how to take what you’re good at and use it to create change.

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