Microsoft National Nonprofit Technology Leadership Grants Awarded

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 16, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the National Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, National Urban League and Youth Villages won Microsoft 1997 National Nonprofit Technology Leadership Grants of software with a retail value of nearly $4.5 million.

These leadership grants are made annually by Microsoft to help larger nonprofit organizations increase the effectiveness of their daily operations. The Microsoft® software is used to enhance communications and organizational efficiency, make use of the Internet, and improve the delivery of service to those in need. Microsoft awards several such grants each year to nonprofit organizations that have offices in at least three states.

Through an application process beginning last spring, CASA, the National Urban League and Youth Villages were chosen by Microsoft to receive grants. Microsoft also announced the availability of applications for the 1998 awards, which will provide grants to even more national nonprofit organizations to upgrade and use technology to meet their goals.

National CASA Association

The CASA Association provides trained volunteers to serve as advocates for abused children negotiating the legal system so they can have an unbiased party speak up for their best interests. National CASA distributed its $1.33 million in Microsoft software to local CASA affiliates, which will use the gift to enhance their capacity to communicate and work effectively.

CASA programs generally have two staff members and 40 volunteers per 100 kids, with almost 40,000 volunteers nationwide. According to Sue Shecket, director of information services for National CASA, the move from software hand-me-downs to software “hand-me-ups” has made a palpable increase in organizational functionality.

“One program director told me that because of the upgrade she is able to spend 30 percent to 40 percent more time working hands-on with kids and volunteers,” Shecket said. “That’s a phenomenal difference.”

National Urban League

For the National Urban League, a social service and civil rights organization that helps African Americans and the urban poor attain social and economic equality, the Microsoft grant of more than $2.5 million in productivity software is helping the organization standardize the technology used among its 115 affiliates in 34 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, local Urban Leagues will use the donated software in technology literacy programs for children and adults.

“It’s our goal to bring state-of-the-art technology to underserved communities,” said B. Keith Fulton, director of technology programs and policy for the National Urban League. “With this grant, we are better able to reach our goal of making sure everyone has the opportunity to access and enjoy the benefits of the information age.”

Youth Villages

Youth Villages, a United Way organization that provides services to children and families in crisis throughout the mid-South, moved from an MS-DOS® -based operating system to the Windows® 95 operating system with its $600,000 technology grant. With the software upgrade, Youth Villages employees in different locations can finally access the same information, an important function for this program because it often services clients with a child at one site and parents at another.

In addition to office productivity software, Youth Villages received educational software it has put to use in its classrooms. According to Margaret Ryan, director of operations at Youth Villages, the donation was crucial in keeping the organization functioning efficiently. “We’ve always been on the cutting edge of treatment for families, and we need to be on the cutting edge of technology as well to further our goals,” Ryan said.

“Microsoft is committed to providing opportunities for nonprofit organizations to reach their potential by using PC technology,” said Barbara Dingfield, director of community affairs for Microsoft. “The National Nonprofit Technology Leadership Grants, in combination with our other giving programs, bring the benefits of PC technology to people and communities who don’t traditionally have access to this technology.”

1998 Grant Applications

The deadline for applying for 1998 National Nonprofit Technology Leadership Grants is April 30, 1998. Those interested can request a Nonprofit Leadership Technology Grant application by calling (425) 936-8185 and selecting option 4. Applications are reviewed in May.

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