United Way Bay Area

Bill Gates Dedicates New Learning Center at United Way

Posted on November 8, 2010, by United Way in Uncategorized

Last month, Bill Gates joined United Way Worldwide for the grand opening and dedication of the Mary M. Gates Learning Center, a new video-conferencing and communications hub at United Way's global headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

During the ceremony, United Way of the Bay Area CEO Anne Wilson joined representatives from United Ways in Mumbai, India and the Vaal Region of South Africa in a web conference to demonstrate how the Center's technology will help United Way chapters from across the globe to share best practices and improve service delivery through better communication and cooperation.

The Mary M. Gates Learning Center was made possible through a generous gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in honor of the late family matriarch, who provided leadership in volunteering, advocacy and giving for United Way on a local, national and international level.

“My mother would be so happy to know about this Center,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “More than anything else, it was my mother's infectious enthusiasm for the United Way that made it a family tradition, and that made giving one of the most rewarding and fun parts of my life.”

Anne Wilson said, “We at United Way of the Bay Area are very excited by the wonderful opportunities the new Mary Gates Center creates to share best practices and ideas among United Way chapters, our partners, our volunteers and community champions. We look forward to taking advantage of this state-of-the-art technology to strengthen our collective efforts to fight poverty in our region and around the world.”

During the web conference, Anne Wilson was joined by Dr. Regina Stanback-Stroud, director of United Way's SparkPoint San Mateo Center. Together, they described our innovative SparkPoint model, which bundles services to more effectively empower families to move out of poverty. Dr. Stroud explained that Skyline College is an ideal home for SparkPoint because the community college serves thousands of students who are striving to improve their family's economic situation.

View a video of the dedication ceremony. United Way of the Bay Area is featured, starting at the 57 minute mark.

Learn more about United Way's SparkPoint initiative at

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