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Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, left, and former Seattle Seahawks star Doug Baldwin. (Twitter Photo via @SueDHellmann)

As CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann has seen firsthand how philanthropy can impact human lives on a global scale. On Tuesday, she was making another contribution, this time on a local level, to an effort backed by a Seattle legend.

As part of #GivingTuesday, the generosity movement meant to spark charitable giving during the holiday season, Desmond-Hellman had a gift in mind for former Seattle Seahawks star Doug Baldwin, who is helping to create the Family First Community Center in Renton, Wash.

Desmond-Hellman, who has been at the Gates Foundation for five years, was eligible to receive a five-year bonus, which employees donate to a single charity of their choice. On Twitter, Desmond-Hellman said she chose Baldwin’s project, which is planned as a local hub for families in the community south of Seattle, to help kids reach their education potential.

Baldwin thanked her and congratulated her on her five years.

Baldwin retired last summer after eight seasons as a wide receiver with the Seahawks. At the GeekWire Summit in October, he talked about walking away from the game he loved and toward projects which could use his expertise and passion. He’s sharing ideas at Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue, Wash.-based invention and investment lab, and he joined the board of of Valor Worldwide, a Seattle digital media startup providing services to the military community.

Baldwin developed a special love for Renton, where the Seahawks have their practice facility, and people in that small city and previously told GeekWire that he was attracted to the diversity in the area — and giving back was a “no-brainer.”

“For me personally, it’s always been about how I was raised, serving those around you and being a part of the community for the greater good of that community,” Baldwin said last November at an event in Renton. “When people ask me, ‘Why do you want to do this?,’ well, I’m a part of something. I’m a part of the human collective and I want to be a part of it that’s going in a progressive manner and doing things in a positive way.”

Desmond-Hellmann, who said on Twitter that she was raised to believe that she “should share good fortune with those lacking similar opportunities,” has seen the billions of dollars from the Gates Foundation impact everything from global health to family planning to education, nutrition, and agriculture. She told GeekWire in 2018 that they are all investments in human capital.

“Throughout history, when you invest in human capital, good things happen,” she said.

And at the GeekWire Summit that year, she added, “I tell people there’s no bad generosity. It might be your church, it might be the local soup kitchen, it might be actually somebody you say a kind word to because you’re being generous and kind and can sense they might need a kind word.”

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