Three Agencies vie for Gates Foundation Global PR Business
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Three Agencies vie for Gates Foundation Global PR Business

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has shortlisted three agencies to pitch for its extensive global PR activity.

Paul Holmes

By Arun Sudhaman

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has shortlisted three agencies to pitch for its extensive global PR activity.

Weber Shandwick, Waggener Edstrom and Hill & Knowlton are all taking part in the final round of the review, according to the organisation's deputy director of media relations, Melissa Milburn.

It is further understood that Edelman took part in the initial phase of the review. Milburn confirmed that the search for a new agency of record is underway.

At present the business is split among different agencies, with Weber Shandwick handling the microfinance and food programmes. It is thought that the Gates Foundation is looking to consolidate its various programmes, which also include global health and agricultural development, with one network.

"This is the first time they are looking for proper support," said one source involved in the review, adding that the spend would be "healthy".

The Gates Foundation is considered the biggest "transparently operated' private foundation in the world, with an endowment of $33.5 billion as of 31 December, 2009. Despite this, the organisation has attracted criticism in the past for its allocation of aid and for focusing too much of its efforts on countries outside the US.
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