Microsoft Philanthropies centralizes the company's new philanthropic vision

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Microsoft has long been big on corporate philanthropy, contributing significant funding to a number of charitable efforts worldwide. To date, the company’s efforts have apparently been too scattered and unfocused, because as the Microsoft blog reports, CEO Satya Nadella has put his mind to the creation of a new vision and organization around Microsoft’s philanthropy.
Dubbed Microsoft Philanthropies, the new organization will be focused on helping the organization meet its central mission: to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” As Nadella said in his shareholder’s letter earlier in 2015:

“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?”

Going forward, Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts will be focused on the same kind of things, and in terms of helping technology reach those who so far have not benefited from what technology can do. Microsoft recognizes limitations in accessing technology such as:

– 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.

The new organization will therefore commit its funds and technology to empower people and make technology more inclusive, through strategic investments, focusing technical assets, collaborative partnerships, and increasing the reach and scale of the company’s efforts to spotlight root causes of digital exclusion and encourage action.
Examples of recent Microsoft efforts along these lines include:

– 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.
– 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.
– 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 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.

Mary Snapp will head up the new Microsoft Philanthropies organization. Chief Operating Officer duties will be handed off to Lorie Forte Harnick. Make sure to read the entire post to learn more about Microsoft’s upcoming focus on charitable giving, and we’ll be sure to keep you up to date as well.