Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
By Steve Lippman, Director of Corporate Citizenship at Microsoft
In the recent past, we’ve blogged about our software donation program, a program that provides free software licenses to any eligible nonprofit organization. To keep things simple our eligibility guidelines track to the same criteria that the US government and other governments around the world use in deciding who is a nonprofit.
This kind of broad program – which provided $844 million in software to 40,000 organizations last year – inevitably means that from time to time we end up providing software to some group that holds policy positions different than our own. That’s because the goal of the program is to support a vibrant and healthy non-profit community, not a particular issue or point of view.
Until now, we’ve talked about this issue mostly in general terms. But a recent controversy over climate change denial advertising by a nonprofit that received software licenses under our program are prompting us to be a little more specific.
Microsoft believes climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention and we are acting accordingly. We are pursuing strategies and taking actions to reduce our own impact as well as the impact of our products. In addition, Microsoft has adopted a broad policy statement on climate change that expresses support for government action to address climate change.
The Heartland Institute does not speak for Microsoft on climate change. In fact, the Heartland Institute’s position on climate change is diametrically opposed to Microsoft’s position. And we completely disagree with the group’s inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign.
Heartland did participate in our global software donation program in 2010, as did thousands of other nonprofit organizations. It’s important to point out that hundreds of environmental and conservation groups also took advantage of the same program, and received over $13 million in free software to pursue their missions.
Again, our software donation program does not support or endorse any particular nonprofit or any particular policy views -- it supports giving all nonprofits in the world access to free software.
To learn more about Microsoft’s climate change policy statement and sustainability efforts, please visit our website.
We are continuing our series of weekly tips and tricks, Fast Five Features, to help educate nonprofits about the features available in the software we provide as a donation to them.
We know nonprofits are often called upon to produce quick information for their board, clients or key stakeholders. While it may take some time to research the information needed, we hope to offer some tips and tricks that will help you quickly format that information, leaving you with a professional, branded document to share.
Office document themes are one way nonprofits (and others) can easily create or change the way a document is presented. Not to be confused with Windows themes that help you personalize your computer and desktop (and show off your latest vacation photos or cute kid smiles), these are themes in Office applications that help you apply consistent styles to your document’s colors, fonts and effects and make your documents look pretty and professional.
We hope these fast five tips for using themes in Office prove useful in your future document beatification efforts:
By Sylvie Laffarge, Europe Director of Citizenship & Public Affairs
“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas!” is how the saying goes. That is precisely the enthused response that Innovate4Good drew in Brussels where I just spent the day with 150 amazing young people from around Europe . Powered by the thinking of these individuals from 30 countries from the Aegean in the south all the way up to the North Sea, Innovate4Good generated an incredible 165 ideas tackling some of the toughest issues we face today. Considering that many had been on the road since 4am the previous day to get to Innovate4Good – I can tell you that this was a pretty exceptional group of people!
It was clear to me early on what really made this group come alive. Whether it was the entrepreneur from the Czech Republic working on an app to help NGOs during humanitarian crises, the IT students from Germany that had developed technology for improved water access and distribution in developing countries, the youth group from Slovenia that had driven a national skills training campaign in their country or simply the young guy from the UK whose life had been literally transformed by the world opened up to him by a career in IT – these folks were certainly not only here to identify the issues but also to drive and participate in the solution with Microsoft.
This was further driven by a call to arms from Akhtar Badshah of Microsoft to be unreasonable, compassionate, open not just to learning but also failure as they pursued these goals and dreams to become change makers in Europe. He engaged with a panel of accomplished youths who shared their thoughts on pursuing bold, innovative ideas, career goals and the omnipresent fear of failure. Michalis Tolkas, a Science & Technology Masters student from Greece, championed the cause for seizing every small opportunity, with NGOs or elsewhere, which would lead to bigger opportunities. Jasmer Dhingra, a youth leader, that runs a Generation Y development program at the Telecommunications company where she is interning in Belgium, emphasized the importance of building and using your network when pursuing ideas and options. Ivan Borko, from Croatia that developed a solution for remote therapy for children using Kinect, talked about the central role technology and teamwork needs to play.
The attendees at the Innovate4Good event in Brussels
Inspired by the interaction, 15 teams worked on projects as diverse as growing voting participation among youth, to more technology specific ventures such as helping the visually impaired ‘see’ with Kinect, a phone app alert system for missing children, or driving greater high speed connectivity in remote regions, to skills and education oriented initiatives like creating a free business school in the cloud for young people in developing countries or providing training solutions for disadvantaged children or career mentoring for youth. Education, social innovation, employment and entrepreneurship all featured prominently among the topics covered.
In the context of high youth unemployment, It is not an easy time for young people in Europe right now as they think about their future opportunities and trade-offs while pursuing dreams and careers. Having experienced today at Innovate4Good Europe, the tremendous energy and innovative thinking of so many motivated young people, I am personally extremely confident about the future of Europe. “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” referring to the Winston Churchill quote shared today. These change makers are already clearly well on their way to making a difference in society and I am thrilled that Microsoft can be part of that journey.
Jean Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International welcomes the participants to Innovation4Good Europe which took place in Brussels.
This is a report on the Innovate4Good day that took place in Singapore last weekend. It was originally posted on the Microsoft Citizenship Asia Pacific blog.
There is a palpable energy and enthusiasm at the Innovate4Good@Microsoft event today in Singapore. The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Clair Deevy, Citizenship Lead for Microsoft Asia Pacific. “The right tools and technology will unlock opportunities we don’t even know exist yet. Youth are changing the world and we are paying attention.”
From the start, participants were busy sharing their experiences. Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with status updates and tweets from the first day of the conference and kept the conversation going outside the conference hall. The #innovateforgood and #innovate4good hashtags saw continuous live tweets from participants as well as retweets from all over Asia Pacific. Five videos from the conference were posted on the Citizenship APAC Twitter feed and a video interview with Ponheary Ly received 145 hits within an hour of posting. By the end of the day, the 14 images and 5 videos that were posted by the team on Twitter registered more than 850 views.
Bernie Jones, Director of IMPACT Corporate Training and summit facilitator, led the group in a series of dynamic and interactive team activities to get the participants to work together and think creatively. From getting a cork out of a bottle to designing a house together with very strict communication limitations, the group has learned to use positive interactions to help the creative thinking and problem-solving processes.
Ponheary Ly, CNN Hero of the Year 2010 and Social Entrepreneur, inspired the group with her talk on how she is educating youth in rural Cambodia. As a teacher, and later a tour guide, Ponheary has a passion for education and believes deeply that school is the answer to opportunity. Educate one child at a time and you can change the world. “I want all students to be connected to the world, for schools to have computers and kids to learn computer skills so they can connect to the world to learn even more.”
The participants have been challenged to learn something new, listen to novel ideas and be open to things they don’t understand. “If you ask questions, you will soon ‘see’ something you may have initially dismissed or not understood,” said Bernie.
The youth are taking this idea to heart. When asked what they learned through the house building exercise, one participant said, “Recognize and accept other ideas when they are better than your own.” Laughter, teamwork, creativity and an enthusiastic “shiock” (Malay for extreme excitement, woohoo!). Clearly, everyone is having a great time.
Tomorrow will bring even more enthusiasm and collaborative work to help solve key social challenges related to various issues that can be helped by technology, such as education, healthcare and employment.
Some of the best messages of the day: Believe in yourself. Believe in the power of change.
By Jon Fine, President and CEO, United Way of King County
It comes as no surprise to me, or to any of our partners, that Microsoft received the prestigious Summit Award for community impact last night from United Way Worldwide.
This award recognizes Microsoft for donating $100.5 million to nonprofits and educational institutions in 2011 in addition to giving $844 million in software to more than 40,000 nonprofits worldwide, including United Ways.
Of the 11,000 people who participated in United Way of King County’s Day of Caring last fall—the largest single day of volunteering in Washington state—6,000 were Microsoft employees. Day of Caring volunteers donated an estimated $1.1 million in hours on 416 projects around our communities. And last year Microsoft’s gifts in King County alone provided 1,183,512 food bank visits to our neighbors who struggle to make ends meet—a very real issue United Way spotlighted recently during Hunger Action Week. More than 1,500 people stood with us that week against hunger, which affects 13 percent of our community.
These are powerful numbers, but more important, they represent real people. People like you and me who shop at the same grocery stores we do, whose kids go to the same schools as our kids. People like Regina, a single mom who took extended time off work to care for her sick son and fell behind on rent and other basic needs. Regina, and many others like her who’ve needed support, got back on her feet with a little help from a United Way grantee program.
Microsoft’s Andrea Taylor receives the United Way Summit Award
Perhaps the most valuable thing the Microsoft community brings to our larger community is passion for innovation and approaching tough challenges in a smart and efficient way. It’s a mentality that has come to characterize the Seattle region, and it ties back directly to Microsoft’s spirit of generosity. So when something we’re doing gets a positive endorsement from the employees of Microsoft, it makes an impact that resonates throughout the community.
The Parent-Child Home Program is a perfect example of this. On the day we launched the program, Microsoft stepped forward to support it with a $1 million gift. Then follow-up donations came in from other companies and employees, as well as several Microsoft alumni. And the effects of this investment have been countless.
About 75 percent of our state’s lowest-income children are not prepared for school when they enter kindergarten. But key support such as Microsoft’s have allowed for the great success of the program—and a goal expansion from 160 families to 1,000—so we can help even more kids and parents build the skills that lead to academic success.
As evident in these and many other United Way programs and services, Microsoft’s investments of money, time and invention are making true social change. It is a commitment that’s altering the landscape of our community right now, and it’s one that will continue to have such effects well into the future.
From all of us in the nonprofit community, congratulations on Microsoft’s well-deserved Summit award. Thank you!
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