Israeli Newspaper Honors Microsoft for Social Commitment and Community Affairs

RISHON LEZION, Israel, June 6, 2000 —
Globes , a major Israeli business newspaper, today recognized Microsoft and two other businesses whose community affairs programs have made a positive impact on Israeli society. The Awards for Businesses Benefiting Society, the first ever presented in what Globes plans to make an annual awards program, were carefully chosen based on the companies’ ongoing commitment of time, resources, cash and volunteers to community projects. Microsoft was recognized for its commitment to five projects that help Israelis of all ages improve their lives through technology. Intel Corp. and Red Sea Radio, located in Eilat in southern Israel, were also honored.

I want to personally congratulate the employees at Microsoft Israel for winning this year’s award from Globes , and thank them for their dedication to their local communities,”
said Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates in a statement that was read at the awards ceremony.

For 25 years, Microsoft has believed in the power of technology to change lives, and so I applaud Microsoft Israel’s efforts in education, job training and technology access. Many thanks to Globes for honoring their valuable contributions to Israeli society with this award for social commitment and community affairs.”

Three of Microsoft’s five projects focus on young people, empowering them with the technology and business skills they need to become successful.

“Microsoft has a number of ongoing community projects in Israel that underscore its commitment to enable people with the benefits of technology,” said Arie Scope, general manager of Microsoft Israel. “These contributions to the community are immensely important to us.”

“A Computer for Every Child,” started three years ago, donates computers to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The project is the first of its kind in Israel, and since its inception it has distributed 9,600 computers. For each of these machines, Microsoft donated copies of Word, PowerPoint and the Windows operating system.

The “Computer Professions for Youngsters” project trains adolescents in southern Israel for certification as Microsoft Certified System Engineers and Microsoft Certified Solution Developers. In addition to gaining experience with advanced technologies and developing strong technical skills, students in this program also receive enrichment lessons in technical English. Those who receive such certification are highly sought after in Israel and abroad, and the project has increased the number of skilled technology workers in the region.

In addition, employees of Microsoft Israel donate their time and experience in promoting initiatives developed by Israeli youth in the “Young Entrepreneurs” project. The students, between 15 and 17 years old, work in groups to set up a commercial, independent “mini-company,” where members learn about management, marketing and sales, raising initial capital, product selection and the preparation of a business plan. In addition to its employees’ time commitments, Microsoft has contributed software to various nationwide entrepreneurial projects and has opened its offices for instructional seminars that give young entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet with Microsoft managers and other employees.

Technological assistance is also provided for Israeli adults. A program called, “Training the Unemployed to Provide Support for Communications Networks,” started two years ago following a visit to Israel by Microsoft President and CEO Steve Ballmer. The program, supported by the Ministry of Labor and Sivan Training College, trains unemployed people living in remote areas to provide support for communications networks, as well as a variety of other high-tech jobs. Microsoft donates training kits and tests the graduates, most of whom find work soon after graduation.

“The development of skilled workers in high technology benefits not only the individuals who receive assistance, but also society as a whole,” Scope said. “Unemployment rates go down, while those who were unemployed now have jobs, increasing their personal satisfaction and their feeling that they are making valuable contributions to society.”

Finally, Microsoft has donated a large number of software products to “Yad Sarah,” an organization that provides assistance to the people in need throughout Israel. The organization provides medical equipment, transportation, emergency services and household help to the disabled, elderly and infirm. Microsoft helped Yad Sarah implement a standardized electronic desktop that allows the organization to provide better support to the 300,000 households it serves throughout Israel.

In addition to the projects recognized by Globes , Microsoft has several other ongoing community programs in Israel and many other countries that provide assistance to disadvantaged communities and empower people through technology. Many Microsoft employees serve as volunteers in those programs, and the company has committed considerable resources, including cash, software and equipment, to organizations and initiatives that can make a tangible, positive impact on society and local communities around the world.

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