Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
Jon Fine, CEO, United Way of King County
In 1983, Microsoft introduced the first version of Microsoft Word, a product that would go on to revolutionize word processing and software interface. The same year, came the Microsoft Mouse, a device we all take for granted now, that changed the way we interacted with our PC’s forever. Also in 1983, with fewer than 500 employees, Microsoft ran its first giving campaign for United Way of King County.
With the foresight, the generosity and the smarts that would make Microsoft the company it is today, the employees of Microsoft injected giving back to the community into the DNA of the company.
It’s a tradition that carries on today, made stronger than ever by you, the employees of Microsoft. This year you helped 3,568 people in King County gain or maintain a permanent home who otherwise would be homeless without your support. In a time when we have all been touched in someway by the economic downturn, Microsoft helped deliver 24,000 meals to homebound people in our local community here in King County.
The gifts you’ve made to United Way of King County have helped 11,461 families find quality childcare, 5018 kids enter kindergarten prepared to learn and 6,577 new moms and dads learn parenting skills. But you did more than that…
Keeping with the Microsoft way, you’ve shown that there’s more than one way to accomplish a goal. Not only have your financial gifts positioned United Way of King County as the number one fundraising United Way in the country, but you have also donated your time, and your expertise back to the community. The $96 million you raised during your 2010 Giving Campaign will make a tremendous impact on the nonprofits and communities around that world that will benefit.
Before and after the Microsoft Day of Caring Project at Child Haven
When United Way of King County kicked off the 2010-2011 campaign at the Day of Caring in September, more than 5,000 of you streamed out into the community. You read to kids, painted community living homes, cleaned up child care centers and together we provided the equivalent of $1.3 million dollars of labor to area nonprofits.
Perhaps the most valuable thing you at Microsoft bring to the community is your passion for innovation, and for approaching the toughest challenges in a smart and efficient way. It’s a mentality that has come to characterize our region and it ties back directly to you and your spirit of generosity. So when something we’re doing gets a positive endorsement from you, the employees of Microsoft, it makes an impact that resonates throughout the community.
Let me give you an example. In many struggling families, parents lack the basic skills to teach their children. As a result, about 75 percent of the state’s lowest income children are not ready to enter kindergarten. This year we announced the expansion of the Parent Child Home Program, a program that sends a home visitor into a family’s home twice a week for two years to help with schoolwork. These kids then gain the skills that prepare them to succeed in school and the parents learn how to be their child’s first and best teacher. Research shows that kids who participate in the Parent Child Home Program achieve high school graduation rates at the same level as their middle and upper income counterparts. (Check out a video about the program here.)
Microsoft understands that a well educated work force is critical to successful business and a healthy community. On the very day we launched the Parent Child Home Program, Microsoft announced a gift of $1 million to support the effort. This endorsement, from a company and its employees who get it, who recognize a smart investment, has leveraged gifts from other companies and employees including several Microsoft alumni. So far we have raised $7.9 million dollars and thanks to you we are bringing the Parent Child Home Program to every child in King County who wants it and can benefit from it.
We’ve been incredibly lucky to have Microsoft General Counsel and SVP Brad Smith along with his wife Kathy Surace-Smith co-chair this year’s United Way of King County Campaign. They have tirelessly shared United Way’s message throughout King County in what is shaping up to be a potentially record breaking fundraising year. I would like to share one of their key strategies for the year.
Brad and Kathy are encouraging younger, small, and middle sized companies, many in the tech industry, to start giving campaigns. The message is simple. ‘Microsoft didn’t wait until we had an IPO, or until we became the tremendously successful company we’ve become to give back to the community. We knew that our success depended on the health of the community and the people that live in it.’
Here we are 28 years after the release of that Microsoft Mouse and that message still resonates. The Kinect has changed the way people are gaming, Windows 7 phones are popping up everywhere, and the Microsoft Giving campaign is more successful and important than ever. Thank you all for your longstanding commitment to solving our community’s toughest challenges. It is an honor to partner with each and every one of you who work at Microsoft.
Jon Fine is the CEO at United Way of King County
Vikas Goswami, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Microsoft India
“Helping people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential” is not just a tag line at Microsoft; it is our way of life, work and fun. For the last five years it has been incorporated into my DNA. I see opportunities nay seek opportunities to help people and NGOs reach their full potential via the various technology and program options we offer. Sometimes the path is longer than we expect, more like a rural hilly village road in India but with tenacity and dedication from all involved great things can be accomplished.
One such journey is the partnership between Grameen Sanchar Society (GRASSO) and Microsoft which began in early 2006. GRASSO is one of our community partner organizations in India and was awarded an Unlimited Potential (UP)Community Technology Skills Program (CTSP) grant to set up 180 community technology centres to provide training in provinces across India. The partnership was created as various state governments in India were rolling out Mission 2007 with the intent of establishing more than 100,000 common service centers across India. The GRASSO program was supported by the West Bengal State government initiative and Microsoft. Our mid-term appraisal and field visit in 2007 showed that while the pace was slow, the project was well on track to meet its targets.
However, as can sometimes happen the project began to stall after the initial stage of implementation. During one field visit, we found many of the centres had shut down and at other locations, there was limited staff, so even the operational centres could only offer limited training, if any. It became very clear that GRASSO was struggling. They were waiting on additional funding from other sources. Morale was low and although we were committed, the reality was the project was unable to move forward and we felt there was no alternative but to regretfully end our active engagement with GRASSO in early 2009.
But that is not where the story ends. One of the values we look for in our community partners is their commitment, and clearly the GRASSO team was not short of that. In mid-2009 with a new senior management in place, GRASSO approached Microsoft to re-build the relationship. Although we were cautious based on program’s lack of progress, we saw that the new team had genuine enthusiasm and were committed to getting the program going.
We took the decision to work closely together providing programmatic guidance, IT certifications and curriculum support for community credibility. It was a watershed moment when new centers became operational and new beneficiaries walked in to get trained. We spent a lot of time discussing how to run centers more effectively and efficiently, how to create collaborations with other stakeholders and create partnership frameworks for successful centers which were sustainable over time. During this process our partnership evolved - from a funder to a true partner. In early 2010 to further strengthen the GRASSO team we invited them for an NGO connection day. These NGO Connection Days are Microsoft hosted events where we bring NGOs together to share best practices and discover new technologies. The event provided them with a great opportunity of cross learning and best practice sharing from our other Microsoft Unlimited Potential CTSP grantees and networking with other partners of Microsoft in this space.
The partnership, investment and perseverance by Microsoft and GRASSO has led to a transformation of the program. Today there are 122 operational centers that have trained more than 51,000 people, and the program is improving day by day. According to Mr. Sanjib Sanjib Das Chaudhuri of GRASSO “Microsoft's continuous cooperation and support helped us in making this turn around happen."
So was the journey worth the effort?
Yes very much so. I still remember visiting village after village with the GRASSO team meeting people who asked if we could re-open the centers as their youth needed them so much. I would quietly say I would try. Today I feel happy to have tried and succeeded to get the centers up and running again by working closely with our partners. This was no small feat accomplished by the GRASSO team.
There are no simple answers to addressing community development. It requires passion, expertise, partnership, investment and perseverance. GRASSO is a great example of what can be achieved.
Vikas has been working in the development sector for 20 years of which last 10 have been in the field of corporate social responsibility. The last five have been with Microsoft in India as Director CSR. She has been a CSR advisor to various corporate and civil society organizations in India. She has been involved with designing, implementing and evaluating strategies and programs covered under the remit of CSR. Prior to Microsoft she was working with The Business and Community Foundation, Global Alliance for Workers and Communities and DFID (British Government Development Agency). She likes to train and lecture on CSR issues to both development sector and corporate sector organizations. Vikas has PhD in Anthropology from Delhi University and an M.Sc in Development Management from University of Wales.
When you visit a Microsoft office and discover that it’s been transformed from a place of work to an amphitheater for a keenly contested rock-paper-scissors contest, or when you overhear people discussing an ongoing bidding war for the world’s best baloney sandwich, then chances are you’re witnessing Microsoft’s employee giving at first hand.
Each year as part of our Giving campaign every full time Microsoft employee in the United States can take advantage of corporate matching for the donations they make to nonprofit and community organizations, up to $12,000. They also have the opportunity to volunteer their time and have those hours matched with a per hour payment to the chosen organization.
It would be fair to say that employee giving is an inherent part of life at Microsoft. Since the inception of the company our employees have wanted to give something back. The continued success of our employee giving isn’t solely about people’s generosity - it’s also about their creativity and passion. As the co-chairs of the 2010 Giving campaign we have had the opportunity to see an incredible array of initiatives to raise funds and awareness. This past year we had over 300 fundraising events including a 5K run with 1,700 employee participants, national poker competitions, an album of employee music, photo books, soccer clinics, and our internal auction site which continues to grow in both the breadth of items offered and the money it raises.
So, how did we do in the United States in 2010? Here are some of the top line figures:
These funds make a real difference in our communities. For example, Microsoft employees are the single largest, active source of ongoing donors for the Seattle Children’s Hospital, which received over $800,000 in 2010. The majority of the donated funds go toward uncompensated care so that no one who comes to Seattle Children’s is turned away for insurance or financial reasons. The donated funds will assist around 1,000 families with uncompensated care. It’s something we’re very proud of.
2010 was an outstanding year for our employee Giving campaign and we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that the success of the campaign isn’t solely due to the incredible generosity of our people, but is also the result of the hard work and energy of an army of volunteers across the company who commit their time to the Giving campaign, driving participation, helping organize events and supporting initiatives. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their efforts.
There is one downside to these results: it creates a formidable target for 2011! However, we’re confident, that as in years past, our employees will rise to the challenge.
We’re already underway. Thank you for your support in 2010!
Tony Scott was co-chair of the 2010 Microsoft Giving Campaign and is Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Tony Scott joined Microsoft Corp. in February 2008 as corporate vice president and chief information officer (CIO). Under Scott's leadership, Microsoft IT is responsible for security, infrastructure, messaging and business applications for all of Microsoft, including support of the product groups, the corporate business groups, and the global sales and marketing organization.
S. Somasegar was co-chair of the 2010 Microsoft Giving Campaign and is Senior Vice President, Developer Division
As senior vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft Corp., S. Somasegar is responsible for providing tools, runtimes and technologies for developers, designers, software development teams and the technical computing community. His team owns the Visual Studio and Expression Studio families of products, the .NET Framework, Silverlight, and many core development technologies.
Cynthia Bogard, Edeyo Foundation
How long does it take kids who have never seen a computer before to “get” how to manipulate a mouse to make it click on an answer or choose a color and draw a circle? About 15 minutes, if our students in Haiti are any indication.
Students at Edeyo School in Bel-Air Port-au-Prince and their teacher experiment with Microsoft’s computer-assisted learning platform – Mouse Mischief.
The New York-based Edeyo Foundation (Edeyo means “help them” in Haitian Kreyòl) provides tuition-free education to nearly 400 pre-school and elementary school children in Bel-Air, an already very impoverished neighborhood utterly devastated by last year’s earthquake in Haiti. Most of our children now live either among the dangerous ruins of their fallen down homes or in the makeshift stick, tin sheet and tarp shelters that have become “home” to more than a million Port-au-Prince residents since the quake. Because the Edeyo school is one of the few functional institutions in the neighborhood, we worked hard to get our school up and running after it too was demolished in the earthquake. At first, we operated in donated festival tents. Then we rented a small building and in October, we built a second temporary building to house our pre-school, kindergarten and first grade. Just the fact that school for Edeyo students has resumed and is held in buildings, not outside, puts Edeyo ahead of many schools in beleaguered Port-au-Prince. While we don’t quite have electricity yet, that didn’t stop us from beginning to implement computer-assisted learning recently by demonstrating Mouse Mischief, Microsoft’s PowerPoint based, multiple-mouse learning platform.
Our first demonstration, pictured above, used one of the templates that teachers all over the world post for free download on Mouse Mischief’s access site. Students took to the concept quickly, using mice connected to multiple mouse access hubs to choose between answers in multiple choice and yes/no templates as well as learning to manipulate their mouse to circle correct answers or draw lines between two matching items. Even though in this class of fourth graders ranging in age from 10-14, only one child had ever seen a computer prior to our demonstration.
The Edeyo team just completed two days of teacher training in Haiti during which we demonstrated how this program could be used to create original materials in English and Kreyòl to teach numeracy and the English alphabet and vocabulary to pre-school and kindergarten children. We also created a content unit on the culture of the Arctic Inuits for use with sixth or fifth graders. This series of Mouse Mischief presentations included a photo-rich, information packed, PowerPoint in French and English on various aspects of Inuit culture and the geography and ecosystem of the arctic. This was followed by a Mouse Mischief-assisted review of the information learned consisting of true/false questions, multiple choice and matching and identification screens that included drawing. The teachers had fun learning how our Microsoft-donated wireless mice worked as they struggled to click and circle the right answers. But they also saw the tremendous potential of a program like this to provide materials to their students that would otherwise not be available. As we proved, all that’s needed is a computer with a charged battery and a small projector and multiple mouse hubs linked together and run off of the computer battery to open a window to a world of limitless content for students in this country, where quality educational materials are scarce. Thanks to Microsoft for the projector and hub donation as well as the mice.
Our next steps include providing regular computer training to our teachers; first, to enable them to run Mouse Mischief and later, to enable them to create their own original Mouse Mischief lessons. We are also working on getting Internet access at our school. And our just-opened pre-school building will also have electricity, provided by our privately owned diesel generator for now.
Edeyo has big plans for the future. In the next year or two, we hope to build a new school on our own property, one that uses solar energy to power our dream of having a computer lab and a classroom computer for each teacher. Meanwhile, however, with just a computer, projector, linked mice and the Mouse Mischief lessons created by teachers on our New York staff or adapted from the free download site, we have infinitely expanded the classroom materials available to our very impoverished students.
Computer assisted learning can enable schools in impoverished countries all over the world to leap over the restrictions imposed by poverty and low quality materials and significantly raise the educational outcomes and future prospects of the students they serve. That’s why we at Edeyo think of this software as Mouse Mischief magic!
Cynthia Bogard is a member of the board of the Edeyo Foundation which is registered in New York as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization and is a Microsoft Partners in Learning program. Follow our progress, meet our students and teachers and donate to help us achieve our goals by visiting: www.edeyo.org.
Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Microsoft Education
Note: Cross posted from the Microsoft on the Issues blog.
This week, people from around the world will gather at two education events in London – the Education World Forum (EWF) and the BETT trade show – to discuss how technology can help improve the state of education in the United Kingdom and globally.
The role of technology in education has been a hot topic of late, sparked in large part by the "Waiting for Superman" documentary in October, the New York Times article on technology and attention spans in November and the Newsweek interview with Bill Gates about seniority-based pay.
In the midst of all this debate, I believe one thing is clear – successful economies rely on an innovative and well-prepared workforce. This requires that students are equipped with 21st century skills such as collaboration, communications, creative thinking, problem solving, digital literacy and citizenship. And to engage and prepare our students, we need high-quality teachers who are, themselves, adept at future-ready skills. Underlying all of that, we need to make sure that the teachers and students have access to the technology that will help each of them learn and grow.
This week at EWF and BETT, Microsoft will look at the critical issue of how 21st century skills are taught and acquired, and roll out new ways to provide access to great technology at a low cost – all so that students can be best prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow. To help advance the teaching and acquisition of 21st century skills, this week we are announcing:
• New findings from a global, multi-year Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research study, which looks at which teaching practices are successful at equipping students with 21st century skills. Unfortunately, the study shows that most students are not offered the opportunities to develop the skills needed for today’s organizations and national economies. Schools interested in measuring and evaluating their own teaching practices can access the free Partners in Learning School Research (PILSR) tool at www.pilsr.com.
• Additional information from the recent release of the Future Workforce Student Survey, which has revealed that the majority of students in the UK feel they are not being taught the necessary skills to effectively prepare them for future employment. ‘Generation Five’ (16 to 18 year olds currently in education) question the approach taken by schools in teaching them about technology and are becoming self-taught on home computers.
Microsoft has also been helping students, educators and schools get access to technology at low costs in a number of ways through ‘Shape the Future’ agreements – which have helped 42 countries bring technology access to more than 6 million students, educators and citizens – and with great technologies such as Live@edu and Windows Multipoint Server. To further improve technology access in schools, this week we are also announcing:
• Live@edu. The leading cloud suite for education is currently used by more than 15 million students worldwide, up from 11 million just three months ago. This number includes new customers at Western Kentucky University, Augusta State University, Beijing Open University, University of Bologna, Copenhagen Business Schools, Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia and Lodge Park Technical College.
• Office 365 for education. The next generation of Live@edu, Office 365 for education (to launch this year) will bring the power of Microsoft's world-class enterprise applications to classrooms of all sizes – including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and Office Web Apps – and will be free for students for e-mail, calendaring, collaboration, communications and Web-based productivity services. E-mail and calendaring will also be free for faculty and staff. For more information on Office 365 for education, check out this feature story on the Microsoft News Center.
• The upcoming availability of Windows MultiPoint Server 2011, which helps educational institutions with budget constraints to implement a Shared Resource Computing (SRC) strategy whereby multiple students, either in the classroom or in a lab setting, can simultaneously share one computer. This new version of Windows MultiPoint Server introduces capabilities that help lower technology costs, enhance the computing experience for teachers and students and simplifies management for school IT administrators.
The tough reality is that there isn’t a magic bullet for solving the complex challenges involved in equipping students with the skills they need for the jobs of the future – but I believe that this week’s news shows we continue to make steady progress in understanding the issues involved, and providing real solutions. I look forward to tackling more issues as I meet with educators, administrators, political leaders and industry leaders this week in London.
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