Today Bill and Melinda Gates released their annual letter, and they made a big bet: “The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history.”

This isn’t a pie in the sky dream; this is a future we can achieve if we rally together.

Why do we think that? Because in our work supporting the United Nations, we’ve seen time and time again that when we take action as a global community, we can make incredible progress, whether it’s reducing child deaths by nearly 50 percent since 1990 or nearly closing the gender gap in primary school education worldwide.

From helping the UN and partners expand access to vaccines and anti-malaria bed nets to educating and empowering girls to using mobile phones to provide pregnant and new mothers with health information, the UN Foundation is going to continue to do our part to make this big bet a sure bet.

As the letter notes, this is a pivotal moment for people who care about what happens in the world to get involved:

In September, the United Nations will agree on a set of goals about what should be done for the poor over the next 15 years. The UN did this once before, in 2000, and it was one of the best ideas for development either of us has ever seen. It focused the world on key measures of how many people get the basics of a productive life: good health and a chance to get an education and make the most of economic opportunities. We hope the goals adopted this year continue that work.

You can read the whole letter here, and we hope you will check out five of its (many) highlights that relate to our work.

1. We’re making big progress saving children’s lives.


2. We have solutions – such as bed nets, vaccines, and modern contraception – to improve the health of women and children.


3. Educating girls is a game-changer.


4. Mobile phones are improving lives.

45. We’re making important progress, but we have more work to do.