Bill Gates has long been a philanthropist through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, donating millions to combat diseases and poverty. But the Microsoft co-founder has now decided to make a personal donation of his own. A big one. Gates says that he will be donating $100 million to fund research to bring about an end to Alzheimer's disease, Reuters reports. That donation will come in two parts. Fifty million to the Dementia Discovery Fund, which combines government and industry resources to seek treatment for the disease, and $50 million to Alzheimer's research start-ups. Currently there is no treatment that slows Alzheimer's, only medications to ease some of the symptoms of the brain-wasting disease. “I hope that in the next 10 years that we have some powerful drugs, but it’s possible that won’t be achieved," Gates says.
This is first time Gates has donated money to fighting noninfectious diseases, CNN reports. The Gates Foundation focuses on communicable diseases like AIDS and malaria. And while one might assume Gates' decision to donate so much of his own money to Alzheimer's research is in response to personal experience, he says that isn't entirely so. ”Some of the men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer‘s, but I wouldn’t say that’s the sole reason,” he says. Nearly 50 million people worldwide are afflicted with Alzheimer's. Without new treatments or a cure, that number is expected to rise to 131 million by 2050.