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

Photo by Ilana Panich-Linsman for Pivotal Ventures

Dana Jones cares for her daughters, Kami and Kyra, who have sickle cell disease.

Our Chance to Move Care Forward

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The parent of a child with a disability. The son or daughter of an aging parent. The partner of someone fighting a chronic illness. Many of us know someone – a caregiver – who matches these descriptions. Their lives are full of tender moments—and long, unforgiving hours giving back to the ones they love. As the backbones of their families, communities, and the economy, caregivers give vital support to people who rely on them. But they don’t always get the support they need from businesses, employers, policymakers, or society. 

America’s caregivers need more support. 

We recently commissioned a nationwide survey on the state of America’s caregivers. They told us they need more time, more resources, and accessible, affordable care solutions. Among the key findings, we learned:

  • The average caregiver spends 45 hours each week on unpaid care, often in addition to another full-time job.
  • 40% of unpaid caregivers report feeling isolated and unsupported.
  • 66% of caregivers report sacrificing their own ambitions and wellbeing to care for a loved one.

Melinda French Gates, founder of Pivotal Ventures, has been advocating for better solutions for unpaid caregivers for years, including calling on business and political leaders to step up with policies and programs that meet families’ needs. Because women bear a vastly disproportionate burden when it comes to caregiving, the status quo is a barrier to women’s power and influence in the U.S. Our goal is high quality, affordable care for all American families and a more equitable distribution of caregiving responsibilities for men and women in their homes.

“Taking care of loved ones is a beautiful part of being human,” Melinda said. “But in the U.S., it also requires unnecessarily painful sacrifices on the part of more than 50 million caregivers. Entrepreneurs, employers, and governments all have a role to play in building a system that makes it easier for people to do right by their families while also tending to their own needs.”

It’s time to Move Care Forward.

As economic pressures mount on U.S. families, it’s time for a broad coalition of leaders and organizations to bring our caregiving system into the 21st century. There are many paths to get there, and together with our partners, we are focusing on three: 

  • Invest in the growing care economy: The care economy totals at least $648 billion. We are making investments in VCs, like our partner Magnify Ventures, that will fund and support the growing ecosystem of companies that are kickstarting a 21st century care system.
  • Support groundbreaking ideas: The products, services, and resources that make up the caregiving system are desperate for a refresh. We seek out companies and leaders with innovative ideas – such as Kinside, which helps parents find and afford quality pre-screened childcare, and The Holding Co., a design and branding firm focused on the care economy that is helping bring these kinds of ideas to life.
  • Advocate for government support: We are pushing for public policies like a national paid leave program and more affordable and accessible child and long-term care services for all. We partner with organizations like Caring Across Generations that are working with caregivers to call on policymakers to make investing in our care infrastructure a top priority.

For caregivers, we invite you to:

  • Talk with your family and friends about what caregiving really takes and how it can be divided more equally between men and women.
  • Request information from your employer about the caregiving benefits they provide and make sure they understand the caregiving challenges their employees face so they can try to address them.
  • Get in touch with your elected officials and candidates running for office to let them know that you believe better solutions for caregivers are an urgent priority. 

To learn more, visit PivotalVentures.org/MoveCareForward. While you’re there, explore stories of real caregivers, produced in partnership with Women Photograph, a non-profit working to elevate the voices of women and nonbinary visual journalists worldwide. 

Together, we have an opportunity to fix the system. We can’t afford to waste it.

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