Public servants in education have given influence to radical-left nonprofits connected to the Chinese Communist Party. These nonprofits have also been given access to Texas’ education system.
Throughout this investigative series, Texas Scorecard will explore the effect of their work in public education.
Bill Gates is a name most are familiar with. He founded Microsoft, a software company that arguably hit its cultural and technological zenith in the 1990s with its popular graphical user interface software: Windows. The company became a runaway success and made Gates one of the wealthiest men in the world.
But Gates’ and Microsoft’s time in the technological sun weren’t without controversy. In 1998, the U.S. Justice Department, under the Clinton administration, filed charges against Microsoft. They alleged the company had engaged in illegal monopolistic, antitrust practices. Later, Judge Thomas Jackson ruled the company had in fact violated the national anti-monopoly law: the Sherman Act.
There has also been debate about the quality of Microsoft’s products. The ’90s generation of computer users remember the infamous “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD). This was an error message that would pop up on your screen, informing you of a critical system error. Everything froze and the users’ only recourse was to restart their computer. “Everyone that runs a Windows PC has encountered a BSOD at one time or another,” wrote Chris Hoffman of How-To Geek.
A BSOD type of error spread to Microsoft’s video game system: the Xbox 360. Business Insider reported a widespread issue plaguing that device after it launched in 2005: the “Red Ring of Death.” Three of the four power lights on the Xbox 360 would light up red, while the device itself stopped working. Responding to the problem reportedly cost Microsoft $1 billion.
Gates also had a rival in Silicon Valley. Formerly allies, they became bitter enemies who warred for dominance in the tech industry before reportedly making peace on this rival’s deathbed. He was Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and he was merciless in his criticism. “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste … they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their product,” he said in an interview. Jobs was even more biting against Gates. “Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology.”
While Microsoft and Gates became synonymous with computer crashes and monopolistic practices, Apple—under Jobs’ guidance—was known for being ruthless, but also for crafting visually stunning, and easy to use products. They were appreciated for democratizing technology, empowering the masses with devices that could help them more easily achieve what would normally be beyond their reach.
These competing visions appear to be replicated in education. While many agree there are severe problems with American education today, these problems persist despite the work of organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Failures and outright anti-parent rebellions in taxpayer-funded education continue to mount. None of the Gates-backed programs that Texas Scorecard covers in this investigative series presented a solution centered around what Jobs identified in 1995 as education’s real problem: failing to serve the customer.
“The customers are the parents, not even the students, but the parents.” Jobs said in an interview. This was during his time running NeXT, a company that would eventually be bought by Apple, bringing the co-founder back to the fold. “The problem that we have in this country is that the customers went away. The customer stopped paying attention to their schools for the most part … and what happens when a customer goes away, and a monopoly gets control—which is what’s happened in our country—is that the service level almost always goes down.” Jobs voiced at the time that he believed America should switch to a “full voucher” system in education. “I believe very strongly that if the country gave each parent a
voucher check for $4,400, that they could only spend at any accredited school, that several things would happen. Number one, schools would start marketing themselves like crazy to parents to get students. Secondly, I think you see a lot of new schools starting.”
The Texas Legislature is debating a limited school choice system in the 2023 legislative session.
During Texas Scorecard’s investigation, we pulled information from a CSV file of all grants the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has committed to. It is available at their website. We extrapolated this information into an easy to search spreadsheet.
Laying the Foundations
The philanthropy Jobs referred to is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the other organization that has elevated the Gates name in the cultural ether. He co-founded it in 2000 with his wife of 27 years, Melinda. It was widely reported Bill & Melinda divorced in May 2021. They formed the non-profit enterprise by merging their Gates Learning Foundation with the William H. Gates Foundation, the namesake of Bill’s dad. Meanwhile, Bill Gates has progressively retreated from Microsoft as he gradually transitioned more towards BGMF work. He stepped down as Microsoft CEO in 2006, Chairman of the Board in 2014, and left the board of directors last year.
BMGF itself is split into two entities: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust. The former handles the distribution of funds and the other handles the endowments. In roughly two decades, these two entities have made quite a splash. The well-funded non-profit has made over $65 billion in grant payments since its inception, and has a foundation endowment of over $53 billion.
The reach and influence of BGMF has expanded into multiple fields, including healthcare and education. As Texas Scorecard has discovered in this investigative series, that includes the Texas education system.
This may be welcome news to those wishing for greater impact by charities on the world around them. In order to be successful, a business must be focused on production and hitting numerical goals, all while staying within a budget. Such approaches could bring measurable change in the world of philanthropy. BGMF’s considerably well-funded coffers would no doubt also be warmly welcomed by Texas public education, which pleads for ever greater hauls of taxpayer monies every legislative session.
What’s forgotten here is a key ingredient most overlook: the values an organization advances. Money can buy influence, and the values of the wealthiest philanthropies will prevail if given the opportunity.
What then are the values of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation?
The CCP Connection
Starting in July 2022, Texas Scorecard launched our investigative series exposing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) infiltration of the Lone Star State. We found that this political party, which oppresses and murders Chinese nationals, has penetrated Texas land, education, politics, and commerce. It was also widely reported on April 19, 2023, that the CCP have possible spy operations operating across the U.S., with one in Houston.
Considering the recent debacle where the U.S. Federal government allowed the CCP to spy on Americans, and how much military information they reportedly acquired, interactions with Beijing are suspect in the light of national security.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has such connections too, but with a twist. In Texas Scorecard’s 2022 investigation, we found CCP-connected entities flowing Chinese taxpayer monies into Texas’ education. But in this situation, we found BMGF sent grants worth more than $81 million to CCP-connected Chinese universities.
Several of these universities have been classified as a “high” or “very high” risk by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). BMGF shipped close to $628,000 to Wuhan University, which ASPI categorized as a “very high” risk because of “its alleged involvement in cyber espionage and high level of defence [sic] research.” More than $14 million was given to Tsinghua University, which is categorized as a “very high” risk due to its “high level of defence [sic] research and alleged involvement in cyber attacks.” More than $21 million was granted to Peking University, categorized as “high” risk because of “its involvement in defence [sic] research and links to China’s nuclear weapons program.” They gave more than $10 million to Shanghai Jiao Tong University. That institution ASPI had categorized as a “high” risk due to “its high level in defence [sic] research and alleged links to cyber attacks.” And $100,000 was given to Xi’an Jiaotong University, categorized as a “high” risk because of its defense labs.
BMGF also gave $100,000 to Jiangnan University. The purpose of the grant was ”to limit the spread of malaria in Jiangsu province, China, by developing a smartphone application to track migrant workers that go to work in countries with high levels of malaria to speed up diagnosis and treatment.” A search of ASPI for this university only turned up Jiangnan Social University, which is categorized as a “very high” risk due to “its affiliation with the MSS, China’s civilian intelligence agency.” It is unclear if this is the same university or not.
Texas Scorecard asked the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about these connections with CCP-connected universities. We also asked about their track record with education initiatives. No response was received before publication.
These relationships are concerning in and of themselves. They also turned out to be consistent with the ideology that the Foundation has publicly advertised its allegiance to.
BGMF markets itself as being non-partisan. But their ideological underpinnings are made clear elsewhere. This is an organization that proudly advances statism and globalism. This is made clear in an open letter by BGMF CEO Mark Suzman in January 2023: “We are guided by the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of concrete, measurable commitments made by every country in the United Nations to their own citizens.” Note the phrase “to their own citizens.” This appears to be the opposite of self-governance, where citizens assert their control over their government. Rather, this seems to be governments attempting to dictate to citizens. And BGMF CEO Suzman appears to endorse this.
Gates himself seems to misunderstand this relationship as well. In a 2016 blog he wrote, Gates repeatedly credited the U.S. government for funding the moon landing, “breakthrough cancer treatments,” and research that led to what we now know as the Internet. This is untrue. The late economist Milton Friedman stated governments do not have money. It is the American taxpayer who funded all three endeavors.
BGMF also has allied itself with an ideology of hate: DIE, commonly called DEI. These letters stand for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Almost immediately, a visitor to the BMGF website will find their commitment to DIE. It’s even found in their mission statement: “We are a nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world [emphasis added].” They even have a DIE Commitment Statement. When discussing BGMF’s “three organizational priorities,” the organization emphasized advancing the destructive DIE mind virus was at the core of what they do. “We cannot achieve any of these without embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion as fundamental principles and practices across all of our work.”
Texas Scorecard previously investigated DIE in our investigative series: Pushing Hate. Part one examined the DIE “woke mind virus” and its parent: environmental, social, and governance (ESG). The virus’ destructive wake in the private sector was examined as well. Parts two, three, and four exposed DIE’s infection into Texas state and local governments, and the threat it poses to Texans.
No commitment to a cause would be complete without a quarterback. BGMF has one in their Chief DIE Officer: Leslie Mays. She has crafted viral infections of DIE in multiple corporations, including Pfizer.
BGMF’s work to advance DIE is chronicled in their 2021 DIE Progress Report. This report itself exposes the leftist bias within the organization. It contains comments from members of BMGF that include sentiments about white privilege, racial justice, “white people’s legacy of violence,” and microaggressions.
More Troubling Connections
The closer one looks at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the more clear their political associations and beliefs appear.
They poured nearly $500 million into the Clinton-connected New Venture Fund. That operation is funded by a money network controlled by Arabella Advisors, a left-wing consulting organization committed to DIE. In October 2022, Fox News reported that Arabella supervised the “most powerful left-wing dark money network” in the nation, and that it is connected to the Biden administration. It was founded by Eric Kessler, who worked for the President Clinton administration. Kessler was also chairman and founding president of New Venture Fund. Kessler is reportedly a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, though a search of the Clinton Foundation’s website returned no results for him.
BMGF also has connections with multiple pro-statist organizations.
There’s Spitfire Strategies, an organization that advances DIE. BMGF and other organizations came to Spitfire to put together the California Teachers Summit, that sought to assemble “15,000 California teachers at 33 sites” for a “day of learning.” Spitfire President, Kristen Grimm, sits on the board of the Windward Fund, which is fiscally sponsored by Arabella Advisors.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a client of Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI), a communications and marketing company. They have political and business clients, including the Biden-Harris presidential campaign, the ACLU, Uber, McDonald’s, and Walmart, among others. They boast of their commitment to so-called “diversity and inclusion,” which in practice is simply pushing uniformity of thought and exclusion. They also boasted of their support for failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Its founder and president is Andrew Bleeker. He comes from the political world. He was the lead digital marketing strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and played a role in communicating with voters and fighting so-called “misinformation” for then President-elect Joe Biden.
BPI staff that have worked with BMGF include Colin Kelly (whose background involves combatting sincere concern about COVID vaccines and the effects of climate regulation policies), and Ellen Esterhay (who previously worked on President Biden’s media team, Hillary for America, and the Democrat National Convention).
The concerning connections keep going. BMGF is also a client of the Global Strategy Group. Influence Watch reports that GSG is a “major consultant to Democrats.” Their founding partner and president, Jefrey Pollock, has consulted with BMGF and a long list of Democrat governors and legislators.
Then there’s the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Group (GQR), which claims to have “been at the center of many of the hardest and most important progressive victories in modern history.” GQR lists former President Bill Clinton’s 1992 victory as one of these. Their clients include BMGF, and multiple Texas Democrats: former Texas Comptroller John Sharp, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, Former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, and Former Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole.
Finally, BMGF has been a client of the Raben Group, “a national public affairs and strategic communications firm.” Namesake Robert Raben’s vision for the company was to have a team that uses “assertive, unapologetic bipartisanship” to move government policy. They count not only BMGF, but a number of other concerning organizations as clients, such as notorious leftist George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood, among others.
Another Raben Group client is the Walter Kaitz Foundation, which described itself “as the media and entertainment industry’s long standing national advocate for DEI.” At last report, this foundation had a number of powerful Hollywood executives on their board of directors, including Paramount President & CEO Bob Bakish; Warner Bros. Discovery CEO and President David Zaslav; and James Pitaro, Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks and President of Disney-owned ESPN. Disgraced former Disney Executive Peter Rice was also a board member of the Kaitz Foundation. The Foundation appears to be in the midst of scrubbing information from their website. Only an archived copy about their board could be found. A previous link to this information is now dead.
There’s a recurring theme of pushing gender mutilation in these Raben Group connections. A member of Peter Rice’s former division at Disney, Karey Burke, was among the executives exposed as advocating for the company to indoctrinate minors with homosexuality and gender dysphoria. The Disney Corporation also publicly attacked Florida’s 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act, in response to the deviant sexual indoctrination taking place in public schools, despite initial resistance from former CEO Bob Chapek. The law prohibits, among other items, programming gender dysphoria into children in certain grade levels.
It should also be noted that another Raben Group client is the pro-child gender mutilation legal firm Lambda Legal. They showed up in Texas fighting against public servants’ efforts to protect children from gender mutilation and hormone manipulation.
“A Man Is Known By The Company He Keeps”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has harmful cultural and political ideologies, and concerning connections with statist organizations. They have also financially backed universities run by the Chinese Communist Party.
Knowing this raises questions about their activities in Texas’ education apparatus, which had already been infiltrated by the CCP.
In Part 2 of this series, Texas Scorecard will begin examining BMGF’s work in education and its results.