Dear Mr. Gates ...

Congratulations on the recent gift of almost $31 billion from Mr. Buffett to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With the infusion of such a significant sum, I have no doubt the foundation will continue to make an impact in addressing health and education issues worldwide.

While I am sure there is no shortage of worthy causes deserving of your foundation's attention, I have a few thoughts on where some of the newfound funding can be targeted.

You've been very clear that education issues are important to you and a focus of your foundation. While smaller high schools, scholarships and better preparing students for post-secondary education are all noble and worthwhile causes, there is an immediate and pressing need for assistance for tens of thousands of school children — the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Even almost a year after the disaster uprooted them from their homes and schools, a majority still have no permanent place of learning to call “home.” The longer these children go without schools, the more likely many of them will never even make it to the high schools your foundation so nobly is trying to improve.

This letter is by no means meant to infer that those impacted by Katrina are looking for a handout — the many stories of bravery and commitment to help the children and schools have illustrated that they have a “can do” attitude and will do what needs to be done.

And while an infusion of cash to rebuild schools won't solve all of the issues affecting the children devastated by Katrina, it will go a long way toward helping them regain their sense of community and reinvigorate their passion for learning.

Editor's Note: While Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett probably are not regular readers of American School & University, this open letter's intention is to keep the plight of a courageous community devastated by Hurricane Katrina — and their attempt to rebuild their lives — in the forefront of the minds of those that can significantly help.

SCORECARD

$2.6

Amount, in billions, of grants awarded for education initiatives by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since its inception.

$1.2

Amount, in billions, invested by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve high school education.

1,500

Number of “high-quality” high schools created in 40 states and the District of Columbia by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

$30.7

Amount, in billions, of the gift from Warren Buffett to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

$59.5

Total amount, in billions, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's assets with the addition of Warren Buffett's recent gift.

Source: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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