Microsoft has established a philanthropic arm dedicated to using technology to combat some of the world’s most challenging problems. Under the leadership of company vice president Mary Snapp, the group will focus on how to drive greater inclusion and “empowerment of people who do not yet have access to technology and the opportunities it offers and enables.”
This is in keeping with the mission that chief executive Satya Nadella has outlined for Microsoft: “Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” The new philanthropic group will be working to meet these goals, leveraging what president Brad Smith called the company’s “strategic societal investments of cash and technology, the technical talents of our employees, our commitment to creative and collaborative partnerships, and the reach and scale of our brand and voice.”
To start off, the company will be investing an undisclosed amount of cash and technology in nonprofits that help push its mission forward. Smith explained that the investments can be things like providing access and connectivity to the public cloud, helping with digital skills training, job placement, business creation, or simply providing education around the STEM curriculum.
Microsoft has already begun to act, announcing at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference that it would commit $75 million to help bring computer science to under-represented schools.
Being philanthropic isn’t anything new to the Microsoft culture. Its employees have been generously helping nonprofits and schools for some time — this year, the company raised $117 million in contributions from two-thirds of its 58,990 employees in the U.S. Microsoft even matches donations of up to $15,000 per employee, annually.