Microsoft Extends Commitment to Bridge the Digital Divide

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 11, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced an Equal Access grant to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the latest in the company’s long history of support to the UNCF and its member colleges. The $100,000 Equal Access cash grant is part of a $300,000 commitment made this month by Microsoft to help the UNCF bridge the digital divide for communities of color. The funds in aggregate will underwrite special projects that improve technology access at six historically black colleges and universities. Grant recipients will be announced in December.

The donation will be presented at COMDEX/Fall ’99 in Las Vegas on Monday, Nov. 15. Deborah Willingham, vice president of Business and Enterprise Marketing for Microsoft, will personally make the announcement at the sixth biannual Equal Access event. Virgil E. Ecton, senior executive vice president of the UNCF, will be on hand to accept the grant.

Equal Access is a charitable outreach program created by Microsoft to help fulfill the company’s vision of providing access to PC technology and the Internet for everyone. Launched in 1997, the program was designed to level the technology playing field so all individuals can have the same opportunities to learn and grow in their careers, education and personal lives. Microsoft hopes that one long-term result of the Equal Access program will be increased diversity in the high-tech workplace.

Microsoft’s commitment to the UNCF began in 1994. Since that time, the company has donated more than $24 million in cash and software* to the organization.

“Microsoft truly believes in the importance of creating equal technology access, and works to extend technology availability and training to disadvantaged communities through a range of programs,”
said Willingham.
“Grants to the UNCF, a key Equal Access partner, have helped colleges effectively integrate technology into their curricula, a crucial step in enabling all individuals to compete in the global marketplace.”

The UNCF is the nation’s oldest and one of the most successful African American higher education assistance organizations. It is composed of 39 private, historically black colleges and universities. The fund currently administers more than 400 educational programs that give students access to higher education, provide career opportunities, and strengthen the fund’s member institutions. To date, more than 300,000 men and women have graduated from UNCF colleges and universities. The UNCF has been ranked as one of the top 100 charitable organizations in America by The Non-Profit Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Although the Equal Access program is still in its early stages, it is already having a dramatic effect.
“Equal Access is changing lives on a very personal level,”
said Bill Gray, president of the UNCF.
“The Equal Access program is expanding opportunities for students to learn, grow and compete in the global market and is investing in America’s future by helping young men and women achieve their dreams.”

Microsoft’s multimillion-dollar donations to the UNCF have provided software, technical assistance, staff training, scholarships and internships for students at historically black colleges and universities.

When Microsoft created the Equal Access program, a key aspect of the company’s strategy was to enroll other high-tech companies to participate, with the goal of encouraging the high-tech industry to continue, and increase, their philanthropic efforts. Since the program’s inception, Intel Corp., Digital Equipment Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have joined Microsoft in sponsoring Equal Access events.

This fall’s Microsoft Equal Access event is co-sponsored by Compaq and Hewlett-Packard. The event will be held Monday, Nov. 15, at the House of Blues in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort. Doors open at 8 p.m. with a brief program beginning at 9 p.m. sharp. Deborah Willingham will kick off the agenda, followed by remarks from Ecton.

The $35 ticket price will enable guests to experience the legendary music of America’s quintessential rock-and-roll band, The B-52’s. The more than 1,500 attendees will also be treated to some of the best food, beer and wine in Las Vegas. All proceeds from ticket sales go to benefit the UNCF. Tickets to the event can be purchased via the Internet at or at the Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Hands On Pavilion, Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall, northeast corner the day of the event.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

*Software donations based on estimated retail prices.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Related Posts