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Melinda French Gates. (MasterClass Photo)

If you’ve already mastered a skateboarding ollie thanks to Tony Hawk or the art of storytelling courtesy of Malcom Gladwell, perhaps you’re ready to work on your impactful giving. Time to bring in Melinda French Gates.

French Gates is the latest professional to bring her expertise to MasterClass, the streaming platform where people can learn about a wide range of subjects, from cooking to painting to songwriting to negotiating business deals and much more.

‘The most generous people in the world are not philanthropists writing big checks.’

French Gates will use her class to help members identify and unlock their personal power through giving. It’s a subject she has spent 20 years better understanding as the co-chair of the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The organization’s philanthropic pursuits and French Gates’ contributions have helped cut childhood death rates in half, reduce worldwide polio cases by 99% and expand access to contraceptives for millions of women in low- and middle-income countries. It all takes strategic planning and execution, said MasterClass founder and CEO David Rogier.

“Melinda is one of the most prolific givers in the world,” Rogier said in a news release. “In her class, she will share how her analytical background has influenced her giving and inspire members to start their own journey of enacting positive change, whether that’s through giving their time or using their voice, expertise or money.”

But for prospective students who might worry that such “impactful” giving could only start with a few billion dollars to spare, French Gates offered some inspiration.

“The most generous people in the world are not philanthropists writing big checks,” she said. “Rather, it’s the everyday givers who use whatever resources they have available to improve the lives of those around them. Those are the people who inspire me, and I hope that this class inspires them.”

Here is some of what French Gates will cover in the class:

  • Guide members in examining their own beliefs and resources and help them develop a personalized framework for philanthropic giving that best matches their resources, values and community needs.
  • Provide a “think, test, do” model for researching, developing and executing their own strategic giving endeavors.
  • Reflect on never-before-heard diary entries from her experiences in Tanzania, India and the United States, and outline different forms of philanthropy, demonstrate the value of building partnerships in local communities and teach members how to break down barriers and learn from failures.
  • Teach the significance of how qualitative and quantitative can help define community needs and define goals and successes.
Melinda French Gates tours the Family Planning Association of Malawi clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi, in December 2012. (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation File Photo)

MasterClass offers an annual membership in which viewers members get access to more than 150 instructors and classes across a variety of fields. Each class features about 20 video lessons, at an average of 10 minutes per lesson.

In partnership with French Gates, MasterClass will distribute free memberships to eight organizations in the U.S. and abroad championing issues that range from empowering young women to enter health and engineering fields to achieving gender equality in global health leadership.

MasterClass raised $225 million Series F round in May 2021, at a reported valuation of $2.75 billion. The company got a boost during the pandemic as people spent more time at home.

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