Microsoft Citizenship Blog

  • Impact Sourcing – The Opportunity Ahead

    By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs

    Today I co-authored a blog post with Mamadou Biteye, managing director, Africa, Rockefeller Foundation about Impact Sourcing.

    Microsoft and the Rockefeller Foundation recently co-convened over 30 global industry experts in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss the future of Impact Sourcing. This was a follow-up meeting from the one convened by the Rockefeller Foundation in September 2013, and this time around there was a greater focus on each organization’s roles in helping to advance the sector. 

    The Rockefeller Foundation believes that companies can achieve both business and social impact through Impact Sourcing, which focuses hiring opportunities on qualified workers who would be considered disadvantaged in their local context – economically, socially, physically, or otherwise. The team came together in South Africa to engage major outsourcing firms to gauge their understanding of this sector and to determine existing opportunities to expand their impact.

    To read more about the point of view that Microsoft and the Rockefeller Foundation share, visit the Rockefeller Foundation blog.

  • Coding for Impact with Chelsea Clinton and CGIU

    By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs

    If you knew how to code would you want to create the next hot social media app? Or would you try to save the world? There’s no reason you can’t do both, but through our YouthSpark initiative, we’re especially motivated to support students who aim to solve the world’s toughest problems through technological innovations.

    Last week we co-sponsored a codeathon with Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) at Arizona State University. This two-day event brought together four teams of students to develop technology-based solutions related to several CGI commitment areas: Education, Global Health, and Water Quality. It was one aspect of CGIU’s annual meeting that convened more than 1,100 students to make a difference.

    Participants didn’t have to be coders to participate. The group also included students focused on landscape architecture, design, and education. Microsoft Citizenship provided guidance on their overall concepts and helped the teams develop their pitches, and our colleagues from the Microsoft Developer Platform Evangelist (DPE) team were on hand to support from a technical perspective.

    At the end of the two days, three judges – Chelsea Clinton, Microsoft’s Ashish Jaiman, and Sasha Barab (Executive Director of ASU’s Center for Games and Impact) – listened to each team’s pitch, asked follow-up questions, and measured the projects against the following criteria: Design, Potential for Impact, Relevance, and Creativity.

    Ultimately, they selected MediText as the winning app, which helps people remember to take their medication by providing reminders and encouragement. The app provides simple text message reminders with additional community elements that involve doctors, friends, and family – all key parts of the social network that help keep people on track with their medications. Each team member won a Windows Phone, and another codeathon participant won a Surface supplied by Microsoft and raffled off by Chelsea Clinton.

    It’s inspiring to see how quickly young people can come together to make a difference! Clinton Global Initiative University is doing phenomenal work motivating young people to get involved in solving the world’s biggest challenges, and we are proud to support them.

    The winning team, MediText, on stage with Chelsea Clinton.

  • Power On! YouthSpark Hub Helps Youth Build Their Futures

    By Yvonne Thomas, senior program manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs

    We’re excited to share that we’ve launched the updated YouthSpark Hub – an online resource from Microsoft to help youth gain skills, prepare for jobs or even start their own business. As Lisa Brummel, executive vice president, Human Resources, shared at We Day, “the YouthSpark Hub is a place where young people can go to get free resources and programs to help them imagine and create a better future.”

    With direct input and feedback from youth, we did a complete overhaul of the Hub to make sure our resources met their needs. We also wanted to help young people get a clearer view of specific programs and resources Microsoft offers that may benefit them based on skills they want to develop or future aspirations they want to pursue.

    The Hub offers opportunities to explore careers, a calendar of YouthSpark events, and a special “skills” section where you can drag and drop the skills you want to learn – from building an app to understanding a database – and be directed to the specific Microsoft resources that can help you get there. To get started, youth of all ages can select the “Participate in a YouthSpark Program” feature to browse more than 30 no-cost and low-cost programs that provide educational, employment, and entrepreneurial resources and support.

    In addition, the YouthSpark Hub now features a special section for teachers with additional resources to help them support the young people they work with.

    Check out the YouthSpark Hub at www.youthsparkhub.com.

  • Unforgettable Moments at We Day Seattle & We Day California!

    By Karen Bergin, director, Citizenship and Public Affairs

    Over the last week, Microsoft participated in two days of inspiring events in two cities – We Day Seattle and We Day California. Through their community service, more than 30,000 talented youth earned their way to We Day Seattle on March 21, and We Day California on March 26.

    We created a slideshow of all the moments we don’t want to forget. To learn why we support We Day, you can read the Official Microsoft Blog post from Microsoft’s We Day Seattle speaker, Lisa Brummel, executive vice president, Human Resources.

    From left to right: Judson Althoff, president, Microsoft North America, speaks about how technology can empower young people to change the world to more than 16,000 youth on March 26 at We Day California at Oracle Arena. Judson is joined on stage by YouthSpark Reporter Jaagriti Sharma, and Josh Okello and Aaron Tushabe who were among the winners of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Grants 2012 competition, a Microsoft YouthSpark program in which they created a portable handheld device that can scan a pregnant woman’s womb as a replacement for ultrasounds for women living in rural areas. Microsoft helped bring We Day to California for the first time this year as part of its YouthSpark initiative.

  • Microsoft Announces New “YouthSpark Hub” on We Day Seattle!

    By Karen Bergin, director, Citizenship and Public Affairs

    As Human Resources Executive Vice President Lisa Brummel writes on the Official Microsoft Blog this morning: “There is nothing quite like seeing the brilliant spark of an idea in the eyes of young person – apart, perhaps, from seeing it in the eyes of 15,000 young people! I will have that privilege today at KeyArena at the second annual Seattle We Day event as part of Microsoft’s three-year commitment to sponsor Free The Children’s signature event and the We Act in-school program in Washington and California.”

    As part of our YouthSpark initiative, on We Day Seattle we’re relaunching the YouthSpark Hub, a place where young people can go to get free resources and programs to help them imagine and create a better future.

    Follow #youthspark and @MSFTCitizenship for live tweets and behind-the-scenes content from our YouthSpark Reporters who will be capturing the unforgettable moments and positive energy of We Day. You can also follow them through this Twitter list. To experience We Day Seattle, you can watch the livestream starting at 9:15 a.m. PDT.

    Coming up next: please join us for We Day California on March 26!

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