Washington State - Part II
|Gates Foundation *or* "Tell Bill I need some money!"|
Working for what is arguably the most famous Foundation in the world with such well know namesakes can make for unique conversations. To be honest, when strangers ask where I work I usually don't mention the name. Many assume you are pals with Bill & Melinda and most joke about how they might get some money via your "connection". I've got to be honest though, if I met you and the professional tables were turned I'd make the same jokes. Still, it's attention that has nothing to do with me and aside from drawing more attention to the mission and needs of Libraries there's no real reason to bring it up.
These are some common questions people ask when they hear where I work. Here are the answers: Yes, I've met Bill & Melinda Gates (charming despite the rush of people), I make a Librarians salary with this job and no, I don't get Microsoft stock options in my benefit package. Also, for the record, if you all looking at my site because you want cash from the Gates Foundation you must first know that in order to even be considered for a grant you have to fit into and fulfill very specific and focused guidelines that are specified on the Foundation web site. That site is the place to go to figure out what to do, not here. Or in other words, I'm just a Librarian telling my unusual Librarian stories and adventures. Well, I'm telling my story AND telling you that you'll have to pay off your own credit cards. :)
I'll often tell people that I don't care much about the differences
between software companies or technology businesses. It is common even for
people that know me more than casually to make reference to my working for
Microsoft. This of course isn't the case, I work for the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation, not Microsoft. While the money for the
Foundation did come from the results of Microsoft ventures I am decidedly not a Microsoft
In fact, when I started this job the organization I worked for was actually not the Gates Foundation. It was called The Technology Resource Institute (TRI). Shortly after that the name was changed to GCTA (Gates Center For Technology Access). Shortly after that name change we were moved to the very beautiful new Foundation offices and were soon signing papers saying we officially worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I came to realize that Melinda, Bill, Bill Sr., and Patty were the folks approving the work and paying for the computers and classes and logistics and support.
Still, I must admit that after working for the Foundation and seeing the way it's energies and monies are directed I have done nothing but grow more proud to be associated with the organization and it's people.
"There is a man
a certain man
and for the poor you may be sure
that he'll do all he can
who is this one?
[who's favorite son?]
just by his action has the traction
magnets on the run
who likes to smoke?
enjoys a joke?
and wouldn't get a bit
upset if he were really broke?
with wealth and fame
he's still the same
I'll bet you five you're not alive
If you don't now his name!"
-Lyrics from "The Union Forever" from the White Stripes album, White Blood Cells. Made me think of Mr. Gates, though I don't think he smokes.:)