The world of education philanthropy is undergoing a changing of the guard, as Jeff Raikes announced today that he will be stepping down as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a position he has held since 2008.
Raikes, who with his wife has a philanthropy dedicated to youth and education issues—the Raikes Foundation — will not leave the Gates Foundation until a replacement has been found, he said in a statement. (Education Week receives funding from the Gates Foundation, which includes among its goals, supporting “innovation that can improve U.S. K-12 public schools and ensure that students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college.” It also receives funding from the Raikes Foundation.)
“I have learned so much from Bill, Melinda, our grantees and partners, and all of you about catalytic philanthropy and specific issues like agriculture and education. I have also learned from—and been deeply moved by—the people I’ve met in the field, whether they’re Ethiopian farmers trying to grow enough food to feed their children or a teacher in New Orleans helping students make a better future,” he wrote in the email to employees.
Under Raikes’ leadership, the Gates Foundation experienced significant growth. Bill Gates credited Raikes with managing the organization during this time, building a “phenomenal leadership team,” and setting the organization on a great path with its programs, according to the joint release.
Earlier this year, the Raikes Foundation sponsored a White House and Department of Education meeting about academic mindsets. Among its guiding principles is this: “We believe in the transformative power of education.” Raikes said he plans to spend more time on his own foundation.