William H. Gates Sr. was a great man whose warmth and humanity could fill any room, whose generous spirit lifted others to be their best and whose kindness will be felt for generations.
We met Bill Sr. and his wife Mary early in our tenures at Microsoft, and in addition to becoming dear friends and neighbors, they instilled in us the imperative of giving back to community. For those of us who were lucky enough to work alongside Bill Sr., his presence was a daily inspiration and a bulwark against cynicism. He found joy in being in service to something bigger than himself, and at a time in his life when most people would have logged decades in retirement, his presence each day in the halls of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was a reminder to all of us that there is no greater calling in life than to serve others.
As we reflect on Blake Nordstrom’s incredible life, we can’t help but be filled with memories of his warm spirit, passion for community and unique ability to bring people together.
He modeled what it means to be an effective, inclusive business leader and a generous, engaged member of our community. Our families bonded over our shared desire to support the city and state we love. We were particularly passionate about ending homelessness in our region. With Blake’s death we lose a real champion and leader for that cause, but we can think of no better way to honor his life than by holding steadfast to that goal.
We will keep his memory close as we work toward the future he envisioned for his hometown. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Molly and all of his loved ones. May Blake rest in peace.
To the world, Paul Allen was a brilliant visionary who revolutionized the way we learn, communicate and interact with the people and technology around us. He never settled for less, never took the easy road and never missed an opportunity to strive for the extraordinary. The force of his vision and leadership has left the world an immeasurably better place.
But behind his larger-than-life persona, to us, Paul Allen was a dear friend and colleague. His quick wit kept us on our toes, his generosity continually inspired and his friendship was a gift and comfort that we will always treasure.
We are heartbroken by his death, but we are comforted by the incredible legacy that he leaves behind. The world lost a luminary today, but his light shines on.
Our deepest condolences go out to his family, who are in our thoughts and prayers.
This past weekend we witnessed the country at its worst. We saw images of racist, violent protests rivaling the 1960s. And while we espouse that there’s no place for this in America, we must accept that this behavior is a reality in America. But it doesn’t have to be. The white nationalists and neo-Nazis who took to the streets to spread hatred, intolerance and anger are examples of the insidious racism and xenophobia pervading the country. Most of us condemn these most obvious displays of hatred, but racism often doesn’t announce itself so clearly.
Structural inequalities and implicit biases work quietly against people of color daily – particularly young people who have their promise and potential stripped from them. While numerous leaders in our country have spoken up against the actions, true course correction requires more than denouncing a singular display of bigotry. It requires those who speak to us and for us to dismantle the systems that have allowed this kind of hate and intolerance to breed. It's up to all of us to hold our political and cultural leaders accountable, and for each and every one of us to be part of the solution.