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Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world. So when he doles out advice about how to spend money wisely, it's a good idea to listen.

Gates' latest investment tip? Cutting off aid to other countries could actually worsen the very problems President Donald Trump and other critics are worried about — and have a big economic impact.

The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist was in Washington, D.C., on March 15, 2018, to discuss international aid projects, including those spearheaded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In an interview with C-SPAN, Gates said he disagrees with Trump's "America First" approach but said that he'd try to explain the merits of international aid within Trump's worldview.


"I'll take his framework and explain why things like health security and continued foreign aid, even in that narrow framework, where you give no credit for saving lives in Africa, kind of pure humanitarian things, even without that, this is money well spent," Gates said.

[rebelmouse-image 19534167 dam="1" original_size="1200x547" caption="Photos by Gage Skidmore/Flickr and World Economic Forum/Flickr." expand=1]Photos by Gage Skidmore/Flickr and World Economic Forum/Flickr.

For starters, international aid is a tiny percent of America's annual budget.

Trump has been skeptical of international aid in past speeches and has criticized other countries and the United Nations for not playing a larger role in global peacekeeping efforts.

Gates didn't totally disagree with Trump's assessment, noting that the U.S. is almost always the first- or second-largest donor in major research projects and international relief efforts. However, he pointed out that it's still less than 1% of America's GDP, a smaller amount than what's given by percentage from other countries, including the U.K.

"It's hard for me to understand the notion that helping people that are poorer than we are is a bad thing," Gates said. "It’s kind of in the Bible."

With public health at stake every time someone climbs on a plane or boat, Gates says humanitarian aid is a wise investment.

Perhaps knowing that he isn't going to win over Trump with an altruistic argument, Gates explained that international aid is, in fact, a powerful tool in national security.

"The preparedness we have for a pandemic, either a naturally caused pandemic or a bioterrorism, intention-caused pandemic, we don't have the tools, the preparedness, the capacity to deal with that," Gates said. "And yet the science is at a point where for a fairly small portion of that increase, say a few percent a year, you could do something quite miraculous in terms of health security."

Staying connected to the global community is the surest way to avoid future disasters.

In an increasingly interconnected world, America has a responsibility to play its part both because it's the right thing to do but also because it's in our own best interests.

Someone like Gates inherently gets that. It's likely a big reason why he stepped away from his iconic role as a tech pioneer and has devoted his life to the work he and his wife, Melinda, do on behalf of their foundation.

Preventing the next epidemic or terrorist attack could come down to how involved we are as a society in helping the less fortunate in times of need.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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