4 of the Coolest Innovations from the Gates Foundation

Gates of Change

Today is #GivingTuesday, which encourages consumers to spend some time or money on a good cause. And The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match $2 million in donations to Facebook fundraisers.

But that’s hardly the only good work being done by the philanthropic group.

Check out four of the most remarkable ways The Gates Foundation is changing the world, from mosquitoes to Alzheimer’s.

Ending Malaria

In 2009 Bill Gates unleashed a swarm of mosquitoes on the audience of a TED talk to drive home the importance of malaria research. (The mosquitoes were not infectious, but, as Gates writes, “Malaria is the key reason mosquitoes are the deadliest animal in the world.”)

The Gates Foundation’s first major investment established the Malaria Vaccine Initiative which plans to introduce a malaria vaccine in the near future and is currently investigating using genomic editing to dramatically reduce the number of mosquitoes.

Reinventing Toilets

In 2011, The Gates Foundation issued the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, “to bring sustainable solutions to the 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to safe sanitation.”

Over the last six years, the foundation has supported technology that turns human waste into biofuel, creates charcoal-based fertilizer, and even transforms human waste into drinkable water. You can watch Bill Gates himself drink the water right here.


Nearly two billion people in the developing world lack access to bank accounts and basic financial services, according to the World Bank. In an effort to bring financial security to these individuals, the Gates Foundation released an open-source software called Mojaloop earlier this year.

The software will power free mobile wallets, allowing customers to send digital payments to anyone.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Earlier this month, Bill Gates announced a $50 million investment to create the Dementia Discovery Fund, a public-private research initiative that hopes to end Alzheimer’s disease.

Gates also introduced a five-point plan for substantially altering the course of the disease, with a focus on diagnosis and data.