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Gates to donate $3 billion windfall

On the surface, it looks like Microsoft's founder wants to give himself a bonus, but he is giving away all of it.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates plans to give himself a $3 billion bonus.

But unlike many top executives in Corporate America, the world's richest man doesn't plan to keep a penny of it.

As part of a plan announced Tuesday to distribute $75 billion to shareholders during the next four years, stockholders will receive a one-time dividend of $3 per share. As the company's largest stockholder, with 1.1 billion shares, Gates stands to earn about $3 billion.

Gates said Tuesday that he plans to donate the windfall to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to expand access to technology through public libraries and to help fight diseases around the world. The foundation estimates its endowment at $27 billion.

"The pledge today is recognition that our world, the nation and our region--now more than ever--can and should dramatically improve equity in health, education, and access to information and human services for vulnerable families," Gates said in a statement Tuesday.

In the past, the foundation has pledged $60 million for research into microbicides to help prevent the spread of HIV and $40 million to create 70 schools dedicated to helping students earn high-school diplomas.

But Gates isn't going home empty-handed.

Microsoft also plans to spend about $14 billion to boost its dividend to a total of 32 cents per share a year. That should net Gates about $384 million.

CEO Steve Ballmer, who owns about 411 million shares of Microsoft, stands to make $1.23 billion from the one-time dividend and about $131 million from the regular dividend boost.

The one-time payout is conditional on shareholder approval.