Post-party news at the new Gates Foundation campus — Bono drops by to say hi and activists drop in to protest

There were a few notable events over the weekend focused on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation following its Thursday grand opening of the new Seattle campus.

Bono praising the Gateses. Activists denouncing them.

Bono, who was in town for a Seattle performance by U2, came by the philanthropy on Friday to say hi and wish everyone well. The rock star also wished the Gates Foundation well at the concert Saturday. Here’s the skinny on his visit to the philanthropy from My Northwest and on his concert comments from Geekwire (which included this Twitpic from Sheena Murphy)

Bono thanked concert-goers for signing up to join the ONE campaign, which advocates for many global health causes championed by the Gates Foundation. He then thanked Bill and Melinda Gates “for your passion, your brain power and your cash, actually.”

AGRA Watch leafletting outside Gates Foundation

On Saturday, before the U2 concert and during the public open house at the new complex, activists who oppose the Gates Foundation’s approach to agricultural development in Africa protested outside and handed out critical flyers.

Members of Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice and AGRA Watch contend “the majority of the projects funded by Gates promote high-tech industrial agricultural methods and market-driven development – privatizing seed, lobbying for genetically modified crops, increasing farmer debt alongside corporate profits, and encouraging land consolidation.”

Finally, I just got this photo sent me by someone who saw this written on one of the whiteboards during the celebration of the new Gates Foundation campus. I wonder how many know that the original mid-1990 meetings that led to the forming of the Gates Foundation — back when there were just a handful of people involved and no actual location — was upstairs in a pizza joint.

Yes, they should have had pizza:

A message to Bill at the Gates Foundation's grand opening


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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.