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Microsoft formed Microsoft Philanthropies a little over a year ago with a plan to donate money, time, cloud computing services and software around the globe. In its first year, it has done a lot of that.
Mary Snapp, corporate vice president of Microsoft Philanthropies, provided an update to the program’s progress after its first year, and it’s impressive. The company’s contributions to various nonprofits and schools include donations worth $465 million to 71,000 organizations and more than $30 million in technology and cash donations to organizations serving refugees and displaced people. Plus, company employees raised $142 million for 19,000 nonprofits and schools.
Approximately 74 percent of Microsoft employees have given money and/or time to a philanthropic cause. And since it began raising money from employees for charitable groups in 1983, Microsoft employees have given more than $1.5 billion.
Through its YouthSpark education program, a global initiative to increase access for all youth to learn computer science, the company provided more than $23 million through 142 cash grants to organizations in 58 countries. The company has made a commitment of $75 million over three years to YouthSpark.
For refugees, Microsoft employees have donated $30 million to organizations such as Mercy Corps, CARE, the International Rescue Committee, and NetHope to aid displaced people. They are also providing technology to SOS Children’s Village International, a nonprofit that cares for displaced children and their families.
Donating cloud computing resources
Last June, the company promised to donate over $1 billion worth of cloud computing resources to 70,000 nonprofits worldwide over three years, and it is making good on that promise. The company has extended access to Azure to 350 scientists in 2016 on top of 600 research papers being worked on already.
Additionally, Microsoft’s Minecraft coding tutorial at the Computer Science Education week engaged 15 million people in 119 countries.
There is also some volunteerism going on through the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program. Started by a Microsoft employee in 2009, TEALS engaged 750 volunteers from more than 400 companies to help bring computer science education to students in 225 U.S. high schools.
“I’m proud of what we achieved at Microsoft Philanthropies in our first year. More than that, I am inspired by the impact that the nonprofits and researchers we support are having as they work to make the world a better place. While we made good progress, one thing is very clear to me—at Microsoft Philanthropies, we must do more.”
In 2017, Microsoft plans to increase its current efforts, including initiatives in education, increase its support for humanitarian action, and work to make technology more accessible for people living with disabilities. It will also support new technology training opportunities for in-demand jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree but do require learning beyond high school.
Good for them.