Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
Yesterday in Atlanta I had the great pleasure of attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Digital Arts Festival. This is one of my favorite events of the year where we get to see incredible entries from kids across America who have brought their creativity to life using technology.
You can see examples of the amazing entries on the Digital Arts Festival gallery website
BGCA provides programs and services in communities across the United States - and on U.S. military bases around the world. They give millions of American kids a safe, fun place to learn and grow. It’s this focus on not only supporting children, but giving them access to knowledge and skills, that drove our initial partnership with the Club over a decade ago.
That partnership led to the creation of the Club Tech program, which today provides over a million children a year with access to technology and with access to the skills they need to use that technology. We’re very proud that the initiative continues to grow and we are delighted that Comcast joined the program earlier this year.
There is a lot of discussion about the importance of innovation and creativity for our future social and economic prosperity. I think the Digital Arts Festival provides a great showcase of what’s possible when you provide our kids with the skills they need to use the latest technology. The combination of those skills with their own creativity and passion delivers outstanding results.
This year kids ranging in ages from 6 to 18 competed in four categories:
The national Digital Arts Festival winners travelled to BGCA headquarters in Atlanta from Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and even Japan. They had an action packed time which culminated in the awards ceremony which was ably hosted by Kawamba Metuassalol. Myself and Cyndi Court and Judith Pickens from BGCA had the honor of showcasing the winners’ incredible work –which you can see at the online gallery – and presenting the awards.
Our future success depends on our children. Organizations like BGCA are having a real positive impact on kids across the country and giving them the opportunity to Be Great. It takes a lot of work, and we need to recognize the passion and commitment of the Clubs’ staff, mentors, parents and volunteers, who along with the kids, bring these communities alive.
My congratulations to all the competitors and the winners, your passion, energy, enthusiasm and creativity is simply inspiring.
You can find out more about the event at the BGCA Facebook page.
Corporate Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs
On Tuesday, Microsoft Community Affairs and TechSoup hosted a webinar on Office 2010 for Nonprofits and Libraries.
Elliot Harmon, a staff writer for TechSoup Global, and Markus Weickenmeier, a product manager at Microsoft, led the presentation on Office 2010 and what it offers nonprofit organizations.
To download and view a recording of the webinar, click on the image below and save the file to a location on your computer, then open the saved file to view the recording (the recording is approximately 80 minutes in length and 22MB in size).
The webinar covered a variety of topics, including:
· Office Web Apps (if you watch nothing else, watch this!)
· Collaborating on shared documents via Windows Live SkyDrive and Microsoft SharePoint
· Some of Office 2010’s new features and functionality
· The Outlook Social Connector (a personal favorite)
· Sharing PowerPoint presentations over the web, and
· How eligible nonprofits can request Microsoft software donations through TechSoup
TechSoup has blogged about the webinar, and included resources to learn more and a link to their Community Forum, at http://bit.ly/officewebinar
Microsoft is committed to delivering relevant and accessible technology to nonprofits. We partner with TechSoup to deliver knowledge and resources to nonprofits around the world because we believe it is important to connect organizations directly with experts on products that are most commonly used and valued by nonprofits. We will post opportunities to participate in future webinars and other training opportunities here on the blog and via our twitter account, @msftcitizenship.
Editor's Note: Due to a huge response, the webinar is now full, however you will be able to review a recording of the event at: http://bit.ly/ngowebinar
On Tuesday, July 27th 2010 at 11am Pacific time (2pm Eastern) we are co-hosting a free webinar with TechSoup to provide you with advice and information on some of the compelling reasons for upgrading to Office 2010.
The webinar will be hosted by Elliot Harmon from TechSoup, author of What Your Organization Should Know About Office 2010, and an expert from our Microsoft Office team. They’ll cover a range of areas including:
You can download and view recordings of recent nonprofit webinars covering Windows 7, CRM and Online Tools at: http://bit.ly/ngowebinar.
Technology can be an amazing tool for social and economic development. It can help people get a better education, learn new skills to earn a living wage, or start a business. It can also enable organizations to meet community needs by broadening access to healthcare, education micro-banking and other essential services.
Technology today has been greatly impacted by the growing connectivity among devices, mobile phones, the PC and the browser. This convergence allows people and organizations to access information and to communicate and collaborate in more powerful ways. It is being driven by a number of factors:
Over the next 3-5 years we will see a new paradigm in computing where the use of devices will be increasingly seamless. You will be able to use your phone, your PC and browser, and even your television in an integrated way, regardless of location.
This new paradigm offers great potential to improve how we all work, but even greater potential for nonprofits to manage their operations and deliver services more effectively and achieve greater impact for the communities they serve.
How can these technologies be used by social mission organizations, social entrepreneurs, NGOs and nonprofits to benefit the most vulnerable people in society? I see four new models of social change:
These new models hold great promise for the social sector to transform their work and create tremendous impact. The reality is, however, that many nonprofits do not feel prepared to take advantage of these new models.
Together, we must all take a proactive and methodical approach to ensuring nonprofits are adopting IT effectively and planning appropriately so that they can benefit from the solutions and platforms that will be available and use them to advance social change.
Editor's Note: a longer paper from Microsoft's Community Affairs team on this topic, entitled Unleashing Technology to Advance Social and Economic Development, is available for download here.
This week I am attending Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington D.C. In the past, this conference was focused on Microsoft’s commercial partners – the 700,000 partners who work with us to develop innovative applications built on our technology. This year 10,000 attendees, 60% from overseas and representing 190+ countries have joined us here. While there are plenty of traditional technology partners in attendance, I’d like to highlight some of the non-commercial partners, especially the organizations me and my team support, namely the International Organizations.
We work closely with inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), international financial institutions (IFIs), and regional and bilateral agencies to help them reach their objectives of assisting countries to foster economic growth, promote social development and address environmental sustainability. Development experts, academics and policymakers agree that information and communication technology (ICT) can play an important role in promoting economic growth, and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Together with these partners, we identify areas where Microsoft’s technology, know-how and resources complement their work and can help them achieve their mandates. Engagement is based on the idea that public-private partnerships can enable more effective program development and delivery through the sharing of mutual expertise, realizing a 1+1=3 model. Our partnerships vary in terms of focus, depth and projects around the world as well as in specific geographies.
Those attending this year’s Partner Conference with us include Dr. Roberto Vellutini, Vice President for Countries of the Inter-American Development Bank, Karen D. Turner, Director of USAID’s Office of Development Partners, Marc Breslaw, Executive Director USA of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Gianluca Bruni, Chief of IT Emergency Preparedness and Response for the World Food Programme.
Examples of how we work together with our international organization partners include:
Twisted Pair solution for World Food Programme from Microsoft on the Issues Blog on Vimeo.
These are just a few examples of the development-focused work we conduct with these important partners. As aid dispersements grow by a factor of three, natural disasters increase in number and intensity and political conflicts continue to displace people from their homes, the demand for services and support by international organizations continues to grow. Through our partnerships we aim to do our part to help them apply technology to scale both their operations and their reach, as they improve lives around the world. Through developing solutions to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, our work with international organizations illustrates Microsoft’s commitment to helping people globally realize their potential.
For additional information, see Linda Zecher’s blog post on the Official Microsoft blog or visit www.microsoft.com/publicsector.
Frank McCosker is the Managing Director of Multilateral and Bilateral Organisations, Public Sector
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