Editor's note: This text is an abridged version of the speech Gates delivered at the National Governors Association's National Summit on High Schools Feb. 26.

A few years ago, when Melinda and I began to explore opportunities in philanthropy, we heard very compelling stories and statistics about how financial barriers kept minority students from taking their talents to college and making the most of their lives.

That led to one of the largest projects of our foundation. We created the Gates Millennium Scholars program to ensure that talent and energy meet with opportunity for thousands of promising minority


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