By John Boudreau, San Jose Mercury News, Calif.
Nov. 19--Generations from now, when Windows -- and perhaps even Microsoft -- are no longer part of the lexicon of pop culture, the philanthropy of Bill Gates will be remembered.
Gates' foundation is a bit like the software company he co-founded: It dwarfs all others in American philanthropy.
Just as Microsoft dominates the global consumer software market, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation rises above all others. In 2005, it had assets of $29 billion. The Ford Foundation, the nation's second-largest private foundation, had $11.6 billion in assets.
The disparity will only grow. Over the summer, investor Warren Buffett announced he would give $31 billion to the Gates Foundation, a move that will eventually double the organization's assets to more than $60 billion."