BILL GATES HAS SAID THAT WHEN AN AIDS VACCINE IS produced, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will fund the vaccine’s distribution around the world even if the foundation has to spend down its $24 billion endowment. For now, and until the vaccine is found, however, the foundation is distributing funds at about the legally required rate of 5 percent per year.

In recent years, strong arguments have been made to foundation managers and the U.S. Congress that foundations should distribute their...

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