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Melinda Gates Names Top South African Businesswoman Co-Chair of Global All-Women Philanthropy Group

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The Maverick Collective knows that the way to alleviate extreme poverty around the world is by investing in women and girls. You can join us by taking action here in support of the UN Global Goal for gender equality, to help create a world where every woman and every girl is given the opportunity to thrive.

Melinda Gates has handed over the co-chairmanship of Maverick Collective, an all women-led philanthropy group, to South African businesswoman and philanthropist Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe.

The collective is a community of female philanthropists and advocates who use their intellectual and financial resources to end extreme poverty by investing in girls and women. 

To date, it has identified unique health solutions for a million women and girls across 15 countries — and leveraged over $70 million in funding. 

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Gates made the handover at a special event in New York City on Tuesday, in a move that will enhance the way philanthropy is executed globally, and particularly in Africa. 

"It makes me optimistic to think about all that this extraordinary group of women will accomplish while moving forward together,” said Gates in a statement. “I look forward to watching Precious harness the potential of Maverick Collective and bring it to more women in more places.” 

Moloi-Motsepe added: “I believe that strategic investment in women and girls will ensure that we address the most pressing issues that face women today. Addressing women’s issues is part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the impact made by Maverick Collective will extend toward closing identified gender parity gaps.”

The Maverick Collective was founded five years ago, by Her Royal Highness (HRH) the Crown Princess of Norway, and senior vice-president of the nonprofit PSI, Kate Roberts, inspired by Melinda Gates.

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The aim of the collective, which currently has 25 female philanthropists investing in projects around the world, is to uncover health solutions for women and girls globally. 

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Since the collective was founded, it has been co-chaired by Gates and HRH the Crown Princes of Norway.

Now, as co-chair, Moloi-Motsepe represents the next phase of growth for the collective, to internationalise and engage with locally led innovators and philanthropists on the continent. 

Moloi-Motsepe has a lot of achievements to her name. She trained as a doctor at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and is the co-founder and CEO of the Motsepe Foundation.

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Moloi-Motsepe is also the executive chairperson of African Fashion International, and is particularly interested in developing South African fashion designers and growing the fashion industry through harnessing individual’s creativity and talents to build thriving businesses — and creating more jobs for women and young people in the process. 

In South Africa, through the Women’s Unit of the Motsepe Foundation, she has focused on education and health as tools for empowering women.

Through the foundation, she works towards alleviating poverty through education — and particularly STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) studies for young people — as well as the empowerment of South African communities, especially women and girls. 

Among her initiatives is the Little Black Book: a special booklet to empower women and girls with information and knowledge.

She’s also a member of the Harvard Kennedy Women’s Leadership Board and the International Women Forum of South Africa; and drives social entrepreneurship on the African continent in partnership with the Schwab Foundation, and supports a Harvard Kennedy school executive program for social entrepreneurs.

Disclosure: Melinda Gates is the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a funding partner of Global Citizen.

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to include a disclosure that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen. We regret the oversight.