Today we’re announcing an expanded commitment to our corporate philanthropy around the world with a broader ambition and a new organization within the company, Microsoft Philanthropies, to make this ambition a reality.
Our CEO, Satya Nadella, has defined a clear mission for Microsoft: Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. In his letter to shareholders this year, he said, “In the year ahead we will continue to ask ourselves what are the challenges mankind faces, how can technology help, and what is the contribution of Microsoft?”
We’ve challenged ourselves to think holistically about the contribution we can make and ask how can we truly bring to life the promise and potential of technology for everyone. Part of the answer is Microsoft Philanthropies, a dedicated organization within the company reporting directly to me, that will focus on these issues.
Delivering on our company mission starts with great technology, but great technology alone is not enough.
Despite global expansion, increased access, and democratization of technology, the benefits of technology are not yet reaching everyone in the world.
Too many of technology’s benefits have yet to reach people who need them. The reasons are manifold.
To fulfill our company mission and truly empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, we, ourselves, need to do more.
Just as there is an extremely effective commercial ecosystem which brings the promise of technology to life in the marketplace, there must be a strong societal ecosystem that brings the promise of technology to life in the community space, especially where there is the greatest need.
Meeting the greatest need requires greater action. And, a recognition that empowerment begins with inclusion.
Through Microsoft Philanthropies, we will contribute in new and more impactful ways to a societal ecosystem that connects the benefits of technology to those who need it most and work harder to drive inclusive growth of the global economy. We will strive to bridge gaps within and across communities through more widespread access to technology that enhances the productivity and quality of life for the people of those communities. The opportunity to do this is greater than ever with the power of cloud computing and the potential of data science.
To bridge these gaps, Microsoft Philanthropies will invest in digital inclusion programs and partnerships. These assets include our 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.
Through Microsoft Philanthropies, we will integrate and leverage these assets to drive greater inclusion and empowerment of people who do not yet have access to technology and the opportunities it offers and enables. As we do so, we will build on the foundation of Microsoft’s 30+ years of giving and the insights from our many valued partners and the communities they serve, and seek new ways to achieve greater outcomes for a broader segment of the world’s population.
We must do this in order to truly fulfill our company mission. Here’s how we’ll start.
Strategic societal investments of cash and technology in digital inclusion programs and partnerships:
Technical talents of our employees mobilized to solve digital inclusion gaps and challenges:
Creative and collaborative partnerships aimed at building bridges of digital inclusion and empowerment:
Reach and scale of our brand and voice to spotlight and prompt action on root causes of digital exclusion:
To take the ambitions and work of Microsoft Philanthropies forward, I have tapped Mary Snapp, a long-time leader in our company and community, to head Microsoft Philanthropies, reporting directly to me. Lori Forte Harnick will serve as its Chief Operating Officer, and we’ll expand our existing broader team in the months ahead.
Today is the first step in the journey of Microsoft Philanthropies, and we look forward to engaging with our long-standing partners and our yet-to-be-discovered partners to strengthen a societal ecosystem that will deliver the benefits of technology to people with the greatest need and create inclusive and enduring positive impact throughout our communities.