Landesa’s Annual Seed the Change Gala
William H. Gates Sr. to Receive The Roy L. Prosterman Humanitarian Award
For Immediate Release
March 15, 2018
SEATTLE—Landesa is awarding William H. “Bill” Gates Sr. with the inaugural Roy L. Prosterman Humanitarian Award at Landesa’s Seed the Change gala on March 15, 2018 in Seattle, WA.
Landesa helps women and men living in the world’s poorest areas gain access to opportunity and break cycles of poverty. More than 50 years ago, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Landesa, Roy Prosterman, embarked on a mission that has become his life’s work: providing secure, legal land rights to rural women and men.
The Roy L. Prosterman Humanitarian Award was created in 2017 by Landesa to recognize and highlight ground-breaking and lasting contributions to poverty alleviation.
“The Roy L. Prosterman Award provides a unique platform to celebrate and recognize leaders who embody the characteristics of Roy himself—vision, boldness, creativity and determination,” said Chris Jochnick, CEO Landesa. “Bill Gates Sr. is a visionary who has dedicated his life to poverty alleviation, and we honor him today for his extraordinary contributions,” Jochnick added.
This year’s winner, Bill Gates Sr., guided the vision and strategic direction of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He first answered his son’s request for help in using his resources to improve reproductive and child health in the developing world by directing the William H. Gates Foundation, which was established in 1994. It merged with the Gates Learning Foundation to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.
“A half century ago, Roy Prosterman was struck by the non-apparent truth that what keeps the world’s poorest people poor is their inability to own the land they work. Since then, he and [Landesa] have shown what wonders can be wrought from a piece of land when the people who till it, own it,” said Bill Gates Sr. “I am honored to receive the first award and recognition from Roy,” he added.
Landesa’s annual Seed the Change gala celebrates Prosterman’s work and International Women’s Day (March 8) and highlights Landesa’s commitment to bettering the lives of women and their families around the globe.
Drawing prominent leaders from philanthropic, corporate and civic circles, the Seed the Change gala celebrates Landesa’s commitment to enabling women’s economic empowerment through the power of land rights. The event attracts an audience of hundreds from around the Seattle area and across the globe.
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In Seattle, WA: Tyler Roush, Sr. Communications Manager, Landesa, +1.206.257.6135, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, please visit: www.landesa.org/seedthechange
Landesa, recipient of the 2017 LUI Che Woo Prize – Welfare Betterment Prize, is a global not-for-profit organization that fights poverty and provides opportunity and security for the world’s poorest people through the power of land rights. The impacts of secure land rights cut across a spectrum of global development challenges – from health to economic growth, from women’s empowerment to political stability – and Landesa is one of the few NGOs in the world dedicated to this work. Founded in Seattle, Landesa has helped secure land rights for more than 120 million families in over 50 countries. In 2015, Landesa was awarded the Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the largest humanitarian prize in the world, in recognition of Landesa’s extraordinary contributions to alleviating human suffering. Landesa currently has active projects in India, Myanmar, China, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique.
Roy Prosterman is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Landesa and Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Washington. Prosterman is a pioneering world expert on land reform, rural development, and foreign aid. Before dedicating his life to global development, Prosterman practiced as an attorney at the New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell for six years. He left private practice for a teaching post at the University of Washington in 1965. Prosterman soon began helping governments develop land reform programs that provided secure legal rights to poor farmers. It started in South Vietnam, where a program he drafted gave land ownership to 1 million tenant farmers from 1970 to 1973. Soon Prosterman found himself called into the fields of Latin America, the Philippines, Pakistan, and dozens of other countries, to help craft pro-poor land law and programs. He developed a small following of law students who assisted him in his work. In 1992, Prosterman, along with a former student, launched the world’s first non-governmental organization designed specifically for partnering with governments to extend land rights to the world’s poorest people – today known as Landesa. Based in Seattle, Prosterman continues to work with governments to develop land rights reforms that provide opportunity to the world’s poorest women and men.
William H. “Bill” Gates Sr. guides the vision and strategic direction of the foundation and serves as an advocate for the foundation’s key issues. He first answered his son’s request for help in using his resources to improve reproductive and child health in the developing world by directing the William H. Gates Foundation, which was established in 1994. It merged with the Gates Learning Foundation to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.
Gates earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Washington, following three years of U.S. Army service in World War II. A founding partner at Preston Gates & Ellis, Gates has served as president of both the Seattle/King County Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association. He has served as trustee, officer, and volunteer for more than two dozen Northwest organizations, including the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and King County United Way. In 1995, he founded the Technology Alliance, a cooperative regional effort to expand technology-based employment in Washington. Gates also has been a strong advocate for education for many years, chairing the Seattle Public School Levy Campaign in 1971 and serving as a member of the University of Washington’s Board of Regents from 1997-2012.
Gates and his late wife, Mary Maxwell Gates, raised three children: Kristianne, Bill, and Libby. Now married to Mimi Gardner Gates, Gates continues his lifelong commitment to many civic programs, cultural organizations, and business initiatives.
The Roy L. Prosterman Humanitarian Award was created by Landesa to recognize and highlight ground-breaking and lasting contributions to poverty alleviation. The Roy L. Prosterman Award provides a unique platform to celebrate and recognize visionary leaders, who embody the characteristics of Roy himself—vision, boldness, creativity, and determination.