Microsoft will give every employee in Asia three-days paid leave this year to pursue community service projects aimed at narrowing the digital divide in the continent, the company said Friday.
With 6,000 employees in the region, that adds up to 18,000 days of charity work, an amount of time Microsoft will set aside each year to pursue service projects in Asia.
The goal is to give 150 million more people in Asia access to technology and the Internet so they can learn how to use the information and communication tools online to help reduce poverty, improve quality of life, and tackle other issues.
At the heart of the campaign, dubbed Unlimited Potential (UP), is a program designed to build computer centers around the region and train locals how to use technology. Microsoft has already established 2,200 centers in Asia in conjunction with governments and partners, donating money, software and its employees to do the training.
Over the past three years, Microsoft has also donated $30 million in software and cash in Asia alone to build and maintain the centers, to pay for employee volunteer trips to remote locations, and finance other philanthropy projects. This year, the company has already approved a grant for $8.2 million in Asia, out of worldwide grants totaling $25.5 million. And that’s probably not all the money Microsoft will give this year, considering it went through two rounds of grants last year.
And concerning the grants, Microsoft Commits US$8.2M Grants In Asia
February 24, 2006 – Microsoft today announced it has strengthened its commitment to community outreach in Asia through an estimated US$8.2 million in grants to fund basic technology and job training to empower underserved people with new skills for enhanced employability.
The US$8.2 million in cash and software allocated for Asia is part of Microsoft’s US$25.5 million additional funding for the company’s on-going Unlimited Potential (UP) program which is now running in 95 countries worldwide. Microsoft UP is a global program that focuses on improving lifelong learning for underserved young people and adults by providing technology skills through community-based organizations around the world.
The company made the announcement in Hong Kong this week at Ethical Corporation’s regional Corporate Social Responsibility conference.
Feb. 23, 2006 — Microsoft Research today announced the recipients of $1.2 million (U.S.) in funding for academic research that focuses on how technology can unlock the potential of people in underserved communities by making computing affordable, accessible and relevant.
Feb. 22, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it is donating $41 million in software and cash to NetHope and the Interagency Working Group on Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB). This grant is intended to enable efficient and rapid communication among nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) during times of crisis, when speed, collaboration and efficiency can make a true difference in people’s lives.