Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success

September 29, 2020

Postsecondary Success Notes | “Comfort isn’t the point – it is the problem.”


We start the fall with more stories about violence against Black men and women, and I’m asking myself, “When does it stop? What’s it going to take?”

It’s going to take all of us. We have to push back on narratives that this is just a policing issue. Or just a jobs or housing or education issue. It is an “all of us” issue.

That includes philanthropy. I’ve been in (and continue to be in) conversations with our partners about our role as a foundation in addressing the barriers students experience as a result of systemic racism and how we can do better in that work. These discussions have touched on what we fund within our core commitments, who we fund to do the work, and how we fund that work.

Some of those conversations have been hard, and even a little uncomfortable. But my friend and colleague Sue Desmond-Hellmann said it best in remarks she recently delivered to The Atlantic: “Comfort isn’t the point – it is the problem.”

Like the colleges and universities we support, we are committed to continuous improvement through listening, learning, and then doing. And while there are many challenges higher ed is facing right now, from campus reopening to adjusting financial models to remain sustainable, there is one issue that needs to stay at the forefront – equity.

In the coming months, I will be sharing more information about our efforts. In the meantime, I want to thank our partners for their wisdom, candor, and tireless work on behalf of today’s students.

Patrick Methvin