They received the honor, the magazine said, for their good deeds.
"For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow," the magazine said.
Writer Nancy Gibbs said, "It makes you think that if these guys can decide to make it their mission to save the world, partner with people they would never otherwise meet, care about causes that are not sexy or dignified in the ways that celebrities normally require, then no one really has a good excuse anymore for just staying on the sidelines and watching."
In its six-year existence, the $29 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped save at least 700,000 lives in poor countries through its investments in vaccinations.
The magazine said Bono efforts to get world leaders to come to the aid of impoverished Africa played a role in the G8 approval of a $50 billion aid package that included $25 billion for Africa.