Patty Stonesifer is the former Co-chair and chief executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. On February 7, 2008, she announced that she would step aside from her role at the end of the year. In May 2008, Jeff Raikes, a Microsoft executive, was tapped as her replacement. Stonesifer remained with the Foundation as a Special Advisor to the Trustees.
In 1997, Bill and Melinda Gates asked Stonesifer to launch the Gates Library Foundation, which later merged with the William H. Gates Foundation in 2000. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's US$38.7 billion endowment fund hands out more than a billion dollars a year to "improve access to advances in global health and learning."
Prior to 1997, Stonesifer was a consultant to DreamWorks SKG and held several vice president positions at Microsoft. Stonesifer began her tenure at Microsoft running Microsoft Canada before being promoted to Vice President and revamping Microsoft's Product Support operations. Later she oversaw the Consumer Products Group and served as senior vice president of the Interactive Media Division. In the latter position, Stonesifer was responsible for an $800 million business whose product was interactive entertainment, news, information and service products. In addition, Stonesifer managed Microsoft's investments in new online content and service products including MSN. The Interactive Media Division produced software titles including Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, Microsoft's Magic School Bus Series and Microsoft Flight Simulator. In 1996 she negotiated a Microsoft and DreamWorks SKG joint venture, DreamWorks Interactive, which was subsequently acquired by Electronic Arts.
Stonesifer is a founding board member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. She served on the board of The GAVI Fund, which helps to provide vaccines to developing countries. Stonesifer has also served on the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on AIDS. She is a founding co-chair of the CITIES board, which promotes expanding the use of technology in Seattle's community colleges. Stonesifer donates both time and resources to a number of other regional nonprofit organizations and serves on the board of regents of the Smithsonian Institution and the board of directors of Amazon.com and Viacom Inc. In July 1996, she was named as one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time.
Stonesifer holds BGS ('82) and LHD ('07) degrees from Indiana University. She is married to Michael Kinsley, a political columnist and former head of the Microsoft-funded online journal Slate. She has two children from a previous marriage.