"Growing up on a farm in Nebraska, Jeff Raikes learned the importance of being an active part of a community – and giving back to it. When he left Nebraska for Stanford University, he started an unexpected journey into the world of personal computers and soon joined a new community: Microsoft. Raikes fell in love with “the magic of software” and surrounded himself with people who “wanted to be a part of changing the world,” spending twenty-seven years helping to build Microsoft into the world’s leading software company.
As Raikes began exploring his options for a second career, Bill and Melinda Gates offered him an opportunity he could not pass up. Now five years into his tenure as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Raikes is helping lead the charge to “redefine philanthropy in the twenty-first century.” He spends his time developing and refreshing strategies for tackling intractable issues like global health and U.S. education – and building an organization focused on “continuously improving [its] capacity for impact.” To successfully lead the Foundation, Raikes takes a humble approach. He listens to critics, seeks constructive feedback from grantees and ensures he, Bill and Melinda are in constant communication about the Foundation’s direction.
Raikes not only works alongside active donors, he is one. With his wife Tricia, he helps lead the Raikes Foundation, which works to address the challenges of early adolescence and reduce youth homelessness. “We really think of ourselves as temporary stewards of a portion of society’s wealth, with the responsibility to figure out how to put that back into society,” says Raikes. It seems Raikes’ second career has the potential to be even more world-changing than his first."
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