How Melinda Gates' own history helped shape the billionaire's philanthropy.

Improved access to contraceptives has lasting benefits.

One of the wealthiest women on earth, Melinda Gates, recently opened up about an unexpected secret to her success: contraceptives.

The 52-year-old billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist detailed her intersection of personal and professional success in a blog post for Fortune. In it, she talks about the importance of making contraception available to women around the world, one of the core issues being addressed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In doing so, she touches on how important family planning resources were in her own success.

"It’s no accident that my three kids were born three years apart — or that I didn’t have my first child until I'd finished graduate school and devoted a decade to my career at Microsoft," she wrote. "My family, my career, my life as I know it are all the direct result of contraceptives. And now, I realize how lucky that makes me."

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In 1962, a chance encounter with Martin Luther King Jr. would transform the life of a young medical student named Larry Brilliant.

Larry Brilliant with an early Apple II computer. All images courtesy of HarperCollins.

Dr. Brilliant would go on to help eradicate smallpox, direct Google.org, help save 4 million people from blindness, and become one of the foremost experts in global pandemics.

But at 19 years old, Brilliant was holed up in his dorm room, subsisting on stale peanut candy and comic books, grief-stricken at the thought of losing his father to cancer.

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While we weren't looking, Congress passed an amazing bipartisan bill.

"We can't ask a child to feed her mind when she can barely feed her stomach."

This July, while most of us were embracing air conditioning and watching presidential candidates butt heads, Congress did something amazing.

It didn't make many headlines, but it should have. This summer, the House of Representatives tried to pass historic bipartisan legislation. I repeat: historic. bipartisan. legislation.

And they did it!

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Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

Last week, President Obama traveled to Charleston, West Virginia, for a candid conversation about substance abuse.

President Obama speaks at East End Family Resource Center in Charleston, West Virginia. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

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