Tag Archives: Microsoft Philanthropies

Microsoft and Pencils of Promise partner to build 10 new schools

All month long, Windows has been celebrating Pencils of Promise, a partner in Upgrade Your World that believes education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. Together, we’re spreading the word of PoP’s work far and wide, and supporting the creation of 10 new schools in parts of the world where access to quality education is scarce.

Students from Sieta Vueltas

Students from Sieta Vueltas

There is nothing more powerful than being in the field with an organization to truly understand the impact they are making on the ground. That is why I was thrilled to join Pencils of Promise in Guatemala, where they are working in 155 partner communities to bring quality education to Guatemalan children, who typically only attend school for four short years.

As a partner, we invested $500,000 in PoP’s work to increase educational opportunities in the developing world. This included support for the construction of 10 new PoP schools.

While in Guatemala, we traveled to five rural communities to unveil and dedicate some of these schools. We met with students, teachers, principals, and community members. There was music and dancing, flowers and fresh coconuts.  And, in more than one community, fireworks.  Mostly, there were smiles – hundreds of warm, appreciative smiles.

Pencils of Promise school dedication

PoP school dedicated by Windows in Nahualate

The rock-star greetings we received were moving on several levels.

First, these communities knew and LOVED Pencils of Promise. This was evident in every interaction I experienced. They valued not only the promise of an education for their children, but the people who work alongside them as community partners to make it possible.


Siete Vueltas students

Students in Siete Vueltas join Pencils of Promise volunteers for a game of soccer.

Second, there was so much hope for the future.  While only 3 out of 10 Guatemalan children currently finish 6th grade, that is changing. The kids I met had big hopes and dreams and plans for their future, enabled and inspired by their access to quality education. With programs like Pencils of Promise, they are on the path to make those dreams a reality.

A school in Nahualate

Jorge Bolom, PoP Guatemala Country Director, and Elisa Willman, Microsoft Philanthropies, dedicate a school in Nahualate.

Finally, there is potential to achieve even more. As part of our support, the local team is using Surface Pros with Windows 10 to monitor and evaluate their programming. Technology helps them track literacy and learning results for each child to ensure PoP can optimize their approach and make a real difference for even more kids.

The organization that started in 2008 with a gift of one pencil from founder Adam Braun to a young boy in India has grown to over 344 schools around the word, changing the lives of nearly 34,000 students. Including the lives of many of my new friends below.

Students in Nahualate

Students in Nahualate prepare for a dedication performance for PoP supporters.

As we continue to work at Microsoft Philanthropies to empower a more inclusive world, I reflect often on my trip to Guatemala and the real people behind this work. Thanks to a handmade weaving and handwritten note from a grandmother I met in Barrios I on my desk, I’m reminded each and every day that our mission is being achieved one person, and sometimes one pencil, at a time.

Microsoft grants help kids learn computer science, Earth Day is celebrated and influential engineer is honored — Weekend Reading: April 22 edition

From a huge effort to help kids realize their potential to a celebration of our dear old planet, this week brought plenty of interesting and inspiring news around Microsoft. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced grants to 100 nonprofit partners in 55 countries as part of YouthSpark, a global initiative to increase access for young people to learn computer science. In turn, these nonprofit partners — such as Laboratoria, CoderDojo and City Year — will use the power of local schools, businesses and community organizations to empower students to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.

The nonprofits will build upon the work that Microsoft already has underway through programs like Hour of Code with Code.org, BBC micro:bit and TEALS.

Every young person should have an opportunity, a spark, to realize a more promising future,” Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Together with our nonprofit partners, we are excited to take a bold step toward that goal today.”

WR Youthspark image

Wondering what the next wave of breakthrough technology will be? Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft Technology and Research, calls it an “invisible revolution,” and it’s transforming farming, allowing people from different cultures to communicate, helping people breathe healthier air, preventing disease outbreaks and much more.

“We are on the cusp of creating a world in which technology is increasingly pervasive but is also increasingly invisible,” Shum said.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we joined the invisible revolution to preview the latest, most cutting-edge developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing. The possibilities are endless.

Invisible revolution GIF

Computer industry luminaries honored Dave Cutler, a Microsoft senior technical fellow whose impressive body of work spans five decades, as a Computer History Museum Fellow. The 74-year-old has shaped entire eras. He worked to develop the VMS operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation in the late 1970s, had a central role in the development of Windows NT — the basis for all major versions of Windows since 1993 — and helped develop the Microsoft Azure cloud operating system and the hypervisor for Xbox One that allows the console to be more than just for gaming.

“The Fellow awards recognize people who’ve had a tremendous impact on our lives, on our culture, on the way we work, exchange information and live,” said John Hollar, the museum’s president and CEO. “People like Dave Cutler, who probably influences the computing experiences of more than 2 billion people, yet isn’t known in a way he deserves to be, in proportion to the impact he’s had on the world.”

WR Engineer award

Microsoft Philanthropies sponsored the annual We Day, supporting exciting events Wednesday in Seattle and earlier this month in Los Angeles. Nearly 30,000 attended the shows, which celebrate young people who are making a difference.

In supporting We Day, Microsoft aims to help young people drive the change they would like to see in their neighborhoods, schools and communities. Our photo gallery captures the highlights, famous faces and young people who were involved in this year’s events.

WR_We day

In advance of Earth Day on Friday, Microsoft kicked off this week with inspiration and information about the company’s sustainability programs and initiatives, including ways you can take part in the efforts. The  brand new Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft website details how Microsoft’s company-wide carbon fee have financed significant investments in renewable energy to power its data centers, improved building efficiency and reached more than 6 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.

Microsoft, which has been a carbon-neutral company since 2012, is continually finding ways to make its products and their lifecycles more earth-friendly. Learn more about how Microsoft is commemorating Earth Day on the Microsoft Green Blog.

WR_earth day

Microsoft is also constantly working to help students achieve more. Some all-new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update are specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students. A “Set Up School PCs” app lets teachers set up a device themselves in mere minutes, and a new “Take a Test” provides simple and secure standardized testing for classrooms or entire schools.

Learning will also get a big boost with Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, a OneNote Class Notebook that now has Learning Management System (LMS) integration and — perhaps most exciting to students — the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” Educators will be able to give it a test run in the summer months and provide feedback and suggestions.

In apps this week, the powerful mobile photo-editing app PicsArt is marking Earth Day by offering a series of green- and outdoorsy-themed photo frame and clip art packages. Several are exclusive to Windows customers. The PicsArt app is free in the Windows Store.

Need a little help juggling projects, priorities and other moving parts in your busy life? The Todoist Windows 10 app can help you stay organized, collaborate with colleagues and even empty your inbox by turning important emails into tasks.

Or for a little fun this weekend, go way beyond retro to prehistoric days in “Age of Cavemen.” In this multiplayer strategy game, you’re the village chief in a dangerous world, and you need to keep your people safe. Build an army, create alliances and destroy your opponents in a wild and wooly free-for-all.

WR apps image

And that’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you here next week for the latest roundup.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

The post Microsoft grants help kids learn computer science, Earth Day is celebrated and influential engineer is honored — Weekend Reading: April 22 edition appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft employees raise a record-breaking $125 million for nonprofits in 2015

2015 Microsoft Employee Giving Infographic

Microsoft’s Employee Giving Program raised a record-breaking $125 million for nonprofits and schools around the world in 2015, including the company match of employee contributions. Our employees increased their support through time, money and talent by $8 million, marking the greatest year-over-year increase in our program’s history.

These results show how, more than ever, Microsoft employees live our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We believe Microsoft Philanthropies rounds out our ability to reach our mission, as well as to reach everyone. In the case of our Employee Giving Program, that means supporting more than 18,000 nonprofits that do invaluable work every day to strengthen communities and better our world. What better time than today to say “thank you” to those nonprofits, and to the many people who work for them. In 2015, these people and organizations improved lives around the world by addressing a wide range of issues, providing shelter for those fleeing wildfires that ravaged portions of the United States, for example, and helping those seeking safety from war-torn regions around the world. They provided mentorships and skills training for at-risk youth, expanded the number of acres of protected forestland, ran nonpartisan civic engagement campaigns and much more.

Mary Snapp, Microsoft corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies.

Mary Snapp, Microsoft corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies.

We celebrate the work of our nonprofit and education partners at the same time as we share our Employee Giving results, because they have inspired Microsoft employees to do more and give more. In fact, this year the participation rate for our Employee Giving Program hit an all-time high of 71 percent. Today we celebrate with our employees as well. We believe that they donate more time, talent and money because our program enables them to help address the causes they care about most. And their giving supported a very broad spectrum of local and global causes, among them humanitarian relief, health, human services and housing, education, arts and culture, agriculture, nutrition and the environment.

Our employees’ volunteer work makes me especially proud. In addition to dedicating a portion of each paycheck to a favorite charity, many employees integrate volunteering into their daily lives.  Each volunteer works out what works best for them at various stages in their lives. Some volunteer a few hours a month, as they can, while others are able to dedicate near second shifts as nonprofit volunteers. In total, employees contributed more than 570,000 volunteer hours in 2015.

In addition, our employees’ impact in Washington State – home to Microsoft’s corporate headquarters and more than 42,000 employees – was especially strong this year. Microsoft employees contributed $62 million to more than 4,000 nonprofits that help weave the fabric of our local communities. I’d like to tell you about a few of our volunteers:

  • Vanessa Payne, a technical advisor for Bing, and Heidi Fader, a program manager for the Storefronts Web team, volunteered a total of 340 hours in 2015, raising money for the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s. Inspired by a friend’s heroic battle with cancer, Vanessa and Heidi, who are childhood friends, dedicated themselves to the cause in 2013 and have raised more than $104,000 for cancer research so far.
  • Nykeesha Davis, a Microsoft human resources associate, volunteered 112 hours in 2015. She led a team of employee volunteers at YWCA of King County, developing six new computer-literacy programs for those served by YWCA’s career development centers. Nykeesha also serves on the board of Communities in Schools of Seattle, which coordinates high school dropout prevention programs. She notes that “the fact that these organizations get money for the time I’m already giving allows me to have a much larger impact financially than I would be able to do otherwise.”
  • James Spotanski, a program manager for Excel, logged more than 300 volunteer hours across nine nonprofits in Washington State, including Habitat for Humanity, Northwest Harvest, Hopelink and the United Way of King County. James says Microsoft’s policy of paying nonprofits $25 for each hour an employee volunteers is a tremendous encouragement. “I love my job,” James says, “and I think it’s great that Microsoft emphasizes this kind of community involvement so much.”
Microsoft employees Heidi Fader and Vanessa Payne raise money for childhood cancer research. (Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

Microsoft employees Heidi Fader and Vanessa Payne raise money for childhood cancer research. (Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

As we celebrate the important work of nonprofit organizations and the generosity of our employees, we recognize the need to further empower the nonprofit community. To fulfill our company mission, we, ourselves, need to do more. That’s why we recently announced our expanded commitment to corporate philanthropy with a broader ambition and a new organization, Microsoft Philanthropies. As a first step in the work of Microsoft Philanthropies, we recently committed to donate $1 billion in Microsoft cloud services over the next three years to nonprofits and university researchers, to ensure these organizations have the technology to advance the public good.

As we look forward, our communities and world continue to face many challenges. I know our employees are thinking of how they can help empower nonprofits through their donations of money, time and talent in the year ahead. We’re already working on new ways to grow Microsoft’s culture of giving and investing in strategic partnerships to help deliver the benefits of technology to everyone. We look forward to sharing more about our plans in the months to come.


Why we need a public cloud for the public good

Today Microsoft Philanthropies, the recently-announced expansion of our commitment to global giving, is making a big statement. We will donate $1 billion in cloud computing resources over the next 3 years to 70,000 non-profits and NGOs worldwide. I invite you to read details of the news in Brad Smith’s blog post published today.

So why is this important, and why now?

In the January 20 issue of The Financial Times I write about the challenges and the opportunities that make this effort necessary. (Note: Subscription required to access link.) In that op-ed piece, I pose a question: How can we make it easier for governments and NGOs to use the public cloud for public good?

The “public cloud” refers to massive, privacy-protected data and storage services rendered over a network for public use. Cloud computing makes it possible to reason over quantities of data to produce specific insights and intelligence. It converts guesswork and speculation into predictive and analytical power.

Last fall, world leaders at the United Nations adopted 17 sustainable development goals to tackle some of the toughest global problems by 2030, including poverty, hunger, health and education. A careful read of those goals reveals the central role that data and cloud computing must play for analysis and action.

This week, I am attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to join other leaders as we focus on the fourth industrial revolution, a digital transformation brought about by ubiquitous, powerful, mobile and networked technologies.

Among the questions being asked in Davos are these: If cloud computing is one of the most important transformations of our time, how do we ensure that its benefits are universally accessible? What if only wealthy societies have access to the data, intelligence, analytics and insights that come from the power of mobile and cloud computing?

Governments are searching for a coherent, pro-cloud policy framework. I believe there are four elements – infrastructure, next generation skills development, trusted computing and leadership. This framework would encourage more pervasive use of the public cloud for public good. Here is what I mean.

In India, the LV Prasad Eye Institute has treated 20 million patients with cataracts, a leading cause of preventable blindness. Through digitization of medical records and other socio-economic data, doctors now can pinpoint the procedures needed to prevent and treat visual impairments.

In Nepal, after the devastating earthquake there last April, disaster relief workers from the United Nations used the public cloud to collect and analyze massive amounts of data about schools, hospitals and homes to speed up access to compensatory entitlements, relief packages and other assistance.

I cite several other examples in my Financial Times commentary, but these should not be isolated stories.

Philanthropy is a start, but to truly harness the public cloud for public good, businesses, governments and NGOs must come together with a shared vision and relentless passion to improve the human condition and drive new growth equally.

How we’re putting the Microsoft Cloud to work for the public good

As Satya Nadella announced today, we’re committed to putting the Microsoft Cloud to work for the public good. That’s why Microsoft Philanthropies, with support from Microsoft Research and Microsoft Business Development, will donate $1 billion in Microsoft cloud services to nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years. Our goal is to support 70,000 nonprofits through this initiative during that time. I wanted to provide some more detail on what we’re doing and the commitments we are making today.

Our rationale for today’s announcement is simple. Cloud computing has emerged as a vital resource for addressing the world’s problems. Cloud services can unlock the secrets held by data in ways that create new insights and lead to breakthroughs, not just for science and technology, but for addressing the full range of economic and social challenges and the delivery of better human services. They can also improve communications and problem-solving and can help organizations work in a more productive and efficient manner.

As Satya makes clear, both the need and the opportunity are real. It is vital that the cloud serve the public good in the broadest sense. While the marketplace is reaching a rapidly growing number of customers around the world, it is not yet benefitting everyone. If we’re going to realize Microsoft’s mission of empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, we need to reach those that the market is not yet reaching. We need to reinvent our corporate philanthropy for the next decade, ensuring that we help empower people and organizations the cloud is not yet serving. This will require extensive efforts on a global basis that reflect varied needs around the world, oftentimes in ways that bring companies, NGOs and governments together in new public-private partnerships.

We believe that each of us in the tech sector has a role to play, and we should each do our part. As we at Microsoft seek to play our part, we’re launching today three concrete initiatives that are designed to ensure that cloud services are easily accessible to nonprofit organizations, faculty researchers in universities and people who today lack affordable broadband access.

Here’s what we are doing:

1. Serving the broad needs of the nonprofit community.

Through our new Microsoft Philanthropies arm of the company, founded last month and headed by Mary Snapp, we will build on our longstanding global software donation programs to create a comprehensive and industry-leading donations program to provide cloud services to nonprofit organizations worldwide. This will ensure that nonprofits have access to the full suite of Microsoft’s cloud services. Specifically, we’ll include:

  • Microsoft Azure, so NGOs can access our data centers around the world to develop and run their applications and make use of our computing and storage power;
  • Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), so nonprofits can manage all of their devices, applications, and data on a cross-platform basis based on industry-leading security and identity management services;
  • CRM Online, so nonprofits can use our new cloud solution for managing relationships with donors and beneficiaries;
  • The expansion of our Office 365 Nonprofit program, which currently includes the cloud-based versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and will now include Microsoft’s Power BI, so nonprofit groups can make use of our newest business intelligence and data analytics.

The full Microsoft Cloud nonprofit program will begin rolling out this spring. We’ve been providing Office 365 services to nonprofits the past two years, and we will apply to this new and broader effort everything we have learned from this experience. We are setting today the goal of serving 70,000 NGOs through one or more of these offerings by the end of 2017, and then we’ll focus on serving even more nonprofit groups each year. We expect that in 2016 alone we’ll donate to nonprofits through these offerings cloud services with a fair market value of close to $350 million.

2. Expanding access to cloud resources for faculty research in universities.

Through Microsoft Research and Microsoft Philanthropies, we will significantly expand our Microsoft Azure for Research program, which grants free Azure storage and computing resources to help faculty accelerate their research. Harry Shum, our executive vice president for Technology and Research, has been a passionate advocate for the potential of cloud computing to be transformational when in the hands of passionate research teams committed to understanding and addressing big challenges. To date this program has provided free cloud computing resources for over 600 research projects on six continents. We will build on what works and will expand our donations program by 50 percent, with a focus on reaching important new research initiatives around the world.

We know from experience that this program can make a critical difference for researchers in universities, and our increased funding for this effort therefore builds on a successful formula. As a company we have supported and witnessed compelling examples of the breakthroughs that can be achieved when university faculty harness the unprecedented power of the cloud is used to analyze data, unlock insights and predict outcomes. From protecting forests in Brazil to fighting wildfires in Greece, and from developing new medicines in the United Kingdom to modeling flood risks in Texas, dedicated university researchers have used Microsoft Azure to advance their cutting-edge research projects. The expansion of funding for these grants will enable faculty around the world to accomplish even more.

3. Reaching new communities with last-mile connectivity and cloud services.

Finally, we will pursue new initiatives that bring together Microsoft Business Development and Microsoft Philanthropies to combine investments in innovative new technologies for last-mile connectivity access with donated access to our cloud services. Just last month, Peggy Johnson, our Executive Vice President for Business Development, announced in the Philippines part of our new focus on funding new connectivity access for underserved communities, building on such work as our TV White Spaces project to bring low cost connectivity to rural Kenya through the Mawingu project.

We’re enthusiastic about the potential for TV White Spaces to bring broadband connectivity at a low cost to more communities around the world – and to do so in 2016, without waiting for the arrival of the next decade. That’s why we’re going to grow this connectivity initiative by growing our financial investment and combining it with cloud services donations and community training programs that we’ll pursue in partnerships with local governments and nonprofit groups. By combining connectivity with cloud services and training focusing on new public-private partnerships, we are setting a goal of pursuing and supporting at least 20 of these projects in at least 15 countries around the world by the end of 2017.

Taken together we believe these steps will ensure that nonprofit organizations and university researchers around the world obtain the access they need to pursue cutting-edge solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

Our approach reflects the unmet need we see in communities around the world, the confidence we have in the ability of nonprofits and researchers to solve these challenges, and the ambition we have for Microsoft Philanthropies to drive digital inclusion and empowerment programs around the world.

All this also reflects a cross-company commitment to help respond to the question Satya raised: How can we make sure the cloud truly serves the public good? Today is a step on that journey. We are committed to doing more, and in the coming months we will launch additional programs through Microsoft Philanthropies to address this opportunity. We’re committed to being part of a broad discussion and a comprehensive response, built on partnerships across civil society and around the world.

Microsoft deepens longstanding commitment to philanthropy with expanded vision, new organization

Brad Smith

Brad Smith

Today we’re announcing an expanded commitment to our corporate philanthropy around the world with a broader ambition and a new organization within the company, Microsoft Philanthropies, to make this ambition a reality.

Our CEO, Satya Nadella, has defined a clear mission for Microsoft: Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. In his letter to shareholders this year, he said, “In the year ahead we will continue to ask ourselves what are the challenges mankind faces, how can technology help, and what is the contribution of Microsoft?”

We’ve challenged ourselves to think holistically about the contribution we can make and ask how can we truly bring to life the promise and potential of technology for everyone. Part of the answer is Microsoft Philanthropies, a dedicated organization within the company reporting directly to me, that will focus on these issues.

Delivering on our company mission starts with great technology, but great technology alone is not enough.

Despite global expansion, increased access, and democratization of technology, the benefits of technology are not yet reaching everyone in the world.

Too many of technology’s benefits have yet to reach people who need them. The reasons are manifold.

  • Poverty limits access to the very tools that can empower people to create a better life for themselves, their families and their communities.
  • A lack of education – especially in STEM disciplines – limits the ability of people to participate in the opportunities created by the growth of the global economy.
  • Accessibility remains a key challenge, with too many people with disabilities encountering barriers to using essential new technologies.
  • People in remote or displaced communities often confront great challenges accessing technology and information when they need it most.

To fulfill our company mission and truly empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, we, ourselves, need to do more.

Just as there is an extremely effective commercial ecosystem which brings the promise of technology to life in the marketplace, there must be a strong societal ecosystem that brings the promise of technology to life in the community space, especially where there is the greatest need.

Meeting the greatest need requires greater action. And, a recognition that empowerment begins with inclusion.

Through Microsoft Philanthropies, we will contribute in new and more impactful ways to a societal ecosystem that connects the benefits of technology to those who need it most and work harder to drive inclusive growth of the global economy. We will strive to bridge gaps within and across communities through more widespread access to technology that enhances the productivity and quality of life for the people of those communities. The opportunity to do this is greater than ever with the power of cloud computing and the potential of data science.

To bridge these gaps, Microsoft Philanthropies will invest in digital inclusion programs and partnerships. These assets include our strategic societal investments of cash and technology, the technical talents of our employees, our commitment to creative and collaborative partnerships, and the reach and scale of our brand and voice.

Through Microsoft Philanthropies, we will integrate and leverage these assets to drive greater inclusion and empowerment of people who do not yet have access to technology and the opportunities it offers and enables.  As we do so, we will build on the foundation of Microsoft’s 30+ years of giving and the insights from our many valued partners and the communities they serve, and seek new ways to achieve greater outcomes for a broader segment of the world’s population.

We must do this in order to truly fulfill our company mission. Here’s how we’ll start.

Strategic societal investments of cash and technology in digital inclusion programs and partnerships:

  • We will invest cash and technology in nonprofit partnerships that deliver the benefits of technology to a wider segment of the population.
  • These investments will span the spectrum of digital inclusion, from providing access and connectivity to the public cloud to delivering digital skills training to help people get jobs and start businesses, to educating the next generation of innovators through greater access to computer science education for all youth.
  • One example is the $75 million we have committed to computer science education worldwide over the next three years. Early next year, we will detail the programs and partnerships that will turn this commitment into action.

Technical talents of our employees mobilized to solve digital inclusion gaps and challenges:

  • We will greatly expand our efforts to support employees in their community engagements, with a special emphasis on matching employee technical talents with nonprofit organizations’ technical needs.
  • We will do this on multiple levels, starting with nonprofit technology deployments and extending to global hackathons that create new technology ‘proofs of concept’ to address a number of key societal challenges as well as selecting a number of marquee data science projects to benefit broad segments of the global population.
  • The Microsoft employee team that developed the Eye Gaze solution is an example of the creativity, passion and innovation that we’ll do more to support, partnering with leaders in the nonprofit, educational and civic community, over the next six-to-12 months.

Creative and collaborative partnerships aimed at building bridges of digital inclusion and empowerment:

  • We will engage in a number of creative partnerships, internally and externally, to drive greater inclusion and empowerment of people in the communities we serve.
  • For example, we will invest in nonprofit programs to compliment Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative, which is designed to help new business grow in remote areas and connect people to the cloud.
  • We’ll do this because we recognize that connecting to the cloud is not enough: it takes skills and knowledge to leverage this connection and derive true benefit from it. Therefore, we’ll invest in the coming year in digital education programs for the people in those communities to ensure not only their inclusion in new opportunities but also their empowerment to make the most of those new opportunities.

Reach and scale of our brand and voice to spotlight and prompt action on root causes of digital exclusion:

  • We will partner with nonprofit organizations to call attention to the root causes of digital exclusion, matching the reach and scale of our brand with the expert knowledge and service that nonprofit organizations provide to their communities.
  • We’ll do this through social good marketing initiatives, such as our recent Upgrade Your World campaign, which provided $10 million to help 100 nonprofits do more good in their communities.
  • We’ll also expand our public advocacy work that is currently focused on education to tackle additional issues of digital inclusion, such as serving the needs of displaced or remote communities.

To take the ambitions and work of Microsoft Philanthropies forward, I have tapped Mary Snapp, a long-time leader in our company and community, to head Microsoft Philanthropies, reporting directly to me. Lori Forte Harnick will serve as its Chief Operating Officer, and we’ll expand our existing broader team in the months ahead.

Today is the first step in the journey of Microsoft Philanthropies, and we look forward to engaging with our long-standing partners and our yet-to-be-discovered partners to strengthen a societal ecosystem that will deliver the benefits of technology to people with the greatest need and create inclusive and enduring positive impact throughout our communities.