Elmar Vinh-Thomas

Director of Assurance and Risk Management | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Elmar Vinh-Thomas, director of assurance and enterprise risk management, leads the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s efforts on risk management, audit, and grant-related fraud investigations that are designed to protect the foundation’s brand and reputation in the service of impact. Elmar originally trained as an anthropologist, linguist, and physician, spending the first part of his professional life as a clinician and university lecturer in South Africa and rural Namibia. He then worked as the director of community health at Project HOPE and oversaw public health grants in Africa, the Asia-Pacific, and the Americas at the Rockefeller and David & Lucile Packard foundations, and at the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Elmar translated his increasing interest in the ethical integrity of donor funding into a new career path in 2011, by qualifying as a certified internal auditor and becoming the first director of audit at the Global Fund. He joined the foundation in 2015. Elmar holds a medical degree from the University of Cape Town, master's degrees in public health and medical anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and bachelor's degrees in sociocultural anthropology and linguistics from the University of Cape Town and the University of South Africa.


Grant agreements all have a specified charitable purpose. Sometimes the purpose is for general support of a grantee. Other times the purpose is very specific (e.g. to purchase a particular More