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Buffett-Gates team has truly lofty goals

July 04, 2006

We all made a big deal out of Warren Buffett's decision to give $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and, I guess, a $31 billion donation does qualify as a big deal.

What Gates hopes to do with the money is a bigger deal, however. He plans to use it to cure the 20 most fatal diseases in the world and, while he's at it, make sure that every American has a decent education.

"Can that happen in our lifetime?" Gates asked during a ceremony announcing Buffett's gift. "I'll be optimistic and say, absolutely."

I don't know if the Gates Foundation will be successful in its quest. I hope it will - but Gates' lifetime is likely to be longer than mine.

What struck me - and, most likely, what struck Warren Buffett - was the sheer audacity of the goal. Gates wants to end deadly diseases and, at the same time, ensure quality education for all Americans.

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