Bill and Melinda Gates watch daughter Jennifer perform in an equestrian event during the Hollywood Reporter Trophy class at the Longines Los Angeles Masters on Sept. 27. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for EEM World)

Bill Gates is famous for many things, including spending hundreds of millions of dollars to develop, promote and defend the Common Core State Standards. In 2014, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded millions more for the Core, plus other issues in the education world.

Along with the Common Core, the big winners in terms of issue were charter schools — especially in Washington state (where Gates helps finance a campaign to win voter approval of charters) — and online and technology-based learning initiatives.

In terms of dollars spent, Gates is the leading billionaire/millionaire who has poured money into school “reform” in recent years. Such philanthropy has raised questions about whether American democracy is well-served by wealthy people who pour so much money into their pet projects — regardless of whether they are known to be useful in education — that public policy and public funding follow in their wake.

Here are  15 of the biggest education-related grants listed on the Gates Foundation’s Web site for 2014:

New Venture Fund
Date: May 2014
Purpose: to support the successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards and related assessments through comprehensive and targeted communications and advocacy in key states and the District of Columbia
Amount: $10,300,300
Term: 13
Topic: Global Policy & Advocacy, College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Website: http://www.newventurefund.org
[The New Venture Fund received another grant in January worth $2,266,215, plus at least two more during the year worth $601,637]

Education Trust Inc.
Date: March 2014
Purpose: for general operating support
Amount: $8,000,000
Term: 36
Topic: Global Policy & Advocacy
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Website: http://www.edtrust.org
[The Education Trust is an organization that supports charter schools and other school reforms.]

Council of Chief State School Officers
Date: June 2014
Purpose: to support the implementation of CCSSO’s 2014-2015 Strategic Plan
Amount: $6,148,749
Term: 19
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Website: http://www.ccsso.org

Educause
Date: May 2014
Purpose: to support the Next Generation Learning Challenges – Breakthrough Schools Fund
Amount: $5,100,000
Term: 20
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Louisville, Colorado
Grantee Website: http://www.educause.edu
[EduCause is a nonprofit association and a community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education. Next Generation Learning Challenges supports applied technology with the goal of improving college readiness and completion.]

East Lake Foundation, Inc.
Date: March 2014
Purpose: to support charter school expansion efforts
Amount: $5,000,000
Term: 52
Topic: Not Available
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: Foundation
Grantee Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Grantee Web site: http://www.eastlakefoundation.org

Tulsa Public Schools
Date: September 2014
Purpose: to support organizations to develop innovative professional development systems to create personalized learning systems for teachers; experiment with innovative modes of delivery; and build the capacity at every level of the organization to design learning and direct resources efficiently and effectively.
Amount: $4,421,847
Term: 36
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Grantee Web site: http://www.tulsaschools.org/

Pacific Charter School Development Inc.
Date: April 2014
Purpose: to support the facility needs of charter schools in Washington State
Amount: $3,998,633
Term: 36
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Los Angeles, California
Grantee Web site: www.pacificcharter.org

Lake County Schools (Florida)
Date: September 2014
Purpose: to support organizations to develop innovative professional development systems to create personalized learning systems for teachers; experiment with innovative modes of delivery; and build the capacity at every level of the organization to design learning and direct resources efficiently and effectively.
Amount: $3,940,766
Term: 36
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Tavares, Florida
Grantee Web site: http://lake.k12.fl.us/lakeschools

Alliance for Excellent Education, Inc.
Date: August 2014
Purpose: for general operating support
Amount: $3,500,000
Term: 25
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Web site: http://www.all4ed.org
[This organization received at least one more grant, worth $787,530.]

WestEd
Date: August 2014
Purpose: to support the vision and strengthen implementation of the Teacher Practice Networks nationally and with a focus in California
Amount: $3,457,786
Term: 36
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: San Francisco, California
Grantee Web site: http://www.WestEd.org
[WestEd is a research, development and service agency that works with education and other communities to achieve equity and improve learning for all. Teacher Practice Networks were started by the Gates Foundation as a way for teachers to form networks to share Common Core lessons, tools and resources.]

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Date: June 2014
Purpose: for the National Alliance for Public Charter schools to advance its mission for high quality public charter schools
Amount: $3,000,000
Term: 36
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Web site: http://www.publiccharters.org

National Association of Charter School Authorizers
Date: June 2014
Purpose: to provide general operating support
Amount: $3,000,000
Term: 36
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Chicago, Illinois
Grantee Web site: http://www.qualitycharters.org

[*Note: This association received two more grants in September totaling $1 million]

Georgetown University
Date: April 2014
Purpose: to support creation of an institute whose aim is to provide state agencies with operational support and technical assistance in advancing measurement of student success and labor market outcomes
Amount: $2,799,312
Term: 37
Topic: Postsecondary Success
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Web site: http://www.georgetown.edu/

Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities
Date: January 2014
Purpose: to support a cohort of public urban research universities to develop new business models that can increase access, improve success rates and find greater cost efficiencies and then use national association networks to scale promising practices
Amount: $2,507,628
Term: 25
Topic: Postsecondary Success
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Web site: http://www.aplu.org

LEV Foundation
Date: July 2014
Purpose: to contribute to a fund to support charter schools in Washington state
Amount: $2,100,000
Term: 12
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington
Grantee Web site: http://www.educationvoters.org