Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on Thursday announced that it has appointed Ashish Dhawan, founder and chief executive officer of the Convergence Foundation, to its board of trustees. Dhawan is an Indian philanthropist and investor who co-founded and oversaw private equity firm ChrysCapital. He is also the chairperson of Ashoka University.
The foundation has also appointed Dr Helene D. Gayle, president of Spelman College to its board
The newly appointed members will join Strive Masiyiwa, Baroness Nemat (Minouche) Shafik, Thomas J. Tierney, Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman, and co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates on the foundation’s board of trustees.
Both Gayle and Dhawan have experience working with organisations that provide grants to organisations aiming to improve health, education, and economic development.
Gayle is also a Gates Foundation alumna and was the president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust. She also spent nearly a decade as president and CEO of the international humanitarian organization CARE and also served as the director of the HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"Over two decades as a foundation, we've learned that the best ideas emerge when we invite people with diverse perspectives to the table…We've learned so much from Helene and Ashish through our work together over the years," said co-chair and board member of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda French Gates.
The new board members' experiences and backgrounds expand the technical, geographic, and gender diversity on the board, and will help the foundation deepen engagement with partners and communities where the foundation's work is focused, the foundation said in a release.
"At a moment of great need and opportunity across global health and development, Helene and Ashish bring unique ways of thinking that will help us see things we don't," said Bill Gates.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced increasing its payout by 50% over pre-pandemic levels to $9 billion annually by 2026. The move comes in the response to the overlapping crises posing risk to decades of progress in sectors such as health, development and economic opportunity, it said in the release.