Founded by Melinda French Gates, Pivotal Ventures accelerates social progress by removing barriers that hold people back.


Pivotal Ventures was founded by Melinda French Gates to accelerate the pace of social progress.

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    Photo by Melissa Lyttle for Pivotal Ventures

  • A woman listens attentively in the audience at an event.

    Photo by Melissa Lyttle for Pivotal Ventures

  • Three people smile and stand close together, their arms around each other.

    Photo by Emily Sevin for Pivotal Ventures

  • A small group of people sit around a long conference table, with one person standing up at the far end.

    Photo by Melissa Lyttle for Pivotal Ventures

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    Photo by Melissa Lyttle for Pivotal Ventures

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    Photo by Melissa Lyttle for Pivotal Ventures

Pivotal Ventures expands opportunity and accelerates equality through high-impact investments, philanthropy, partnerships, and advocacy. We focus on areas where social progress has stalled—and where we can have the biggest impact.

Like Melinda, we’re clear-eyed about the stubborn problems our country faces. But we also see those problems as potential turning points in our nation’s story. Our impatience with the status quo is fueled by an optimism that progress is always possible—especially when we seize the moment together.


  • Melinda French Gates shakes hands with an individual.

    Melinda French Gates creates Pivotal Ventures in 2015.

    Pivotal is founded to advance social progress by removing barriers that hold people back.

    Photo by Bryan Meltz for Pivotal Ventures
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  • Youth collaborating around a table.

    Pivotal begins to partner, invest, and advocate to expand equality and opportunity.

    Pivotal's earliest grantees includes Rutgers Center for American Women in Politics, the leading source of scholarly research and data about women’s political participation in the U.S. and the Headstream Accelerator, which supports innovation in adolescent mental health. 

    Photo courtesy of Center for American Women and Politics 
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  • Melinda French Gates smiles as she signs a copy of her book.

    Melinda releases The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.

    In her first book, Melinda describes her journey to becoming an advocate for women and girls and shares the stories of women she's met around the world.

    Photo by Michael Hanson for Pivotal Ventures
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  • Two people sitting in chairs, one speaking into a microphone.

    In 2019, Melinda commits $1 billion to expanding women’s power and influence in the United States. 

    Melinda accompanies this announcement with an essay in Harvard Business Review outlining Pivotal's strategy to position more women to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives.  

    Photos by Las Fotos Project, courtesy of Freefrom
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  • A collage of six women's faces who look surprised and excited.

    Pivotal hosts the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, awarding $40 million in funding to four organizations.

    After reviewing proposals from 550 organizations, the Equality Can't Wait Challenge awards $10 million to four awardees with winning ideas for meaningfully expanding women’s power and influence by 2030. 

    Photo courtesy of Pivotal Ventures
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  • A close up of a child's face in front of an out-of-focus yellow background.

    Pivotal co-sponsors the “Sound It Out” adolescent mental health campaign.

    This 2021 national campaign with the Ad Council leverages the power of music to help young people and their caregivers in Black and Latino communities have meaningful conversations around mental health and emotional wellbeing.  

    Photo courtesy of Sound it Out
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Melinda French Gates smiles at someone who is interviewing her while holding a copy of her book, "Moment of Lift."
Melinda French Gates 

Melinda has spent more than two decades working to create a world where every person has an equal opportunity to live a better life. This is what continues to drive her, and Pivotal Ventures, forward.

More about our founder

When it comes to solving big, complicated problems, it helps to have a lot of tools in your toolbox. That’s why we bridge the worlds of philanthropy, venture capital, and policy and advocacy.

Since Melinda French Gates founded Pivotal Ventures in 2015, we have used different kinds of funding to achieve our mission to advance social progress, including venture capital investments, advocacy funding, and philanthropic grantmaking. In 2022, Melinda formed Pivotal Philanthropies Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to support philanthropic grantmaking and help facilitate this flexible approach to driving impact.

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