Microsoft Extends International Giving With Initiatives To Bridge Global Digital Divide

TOKYO, July 21, 2000 — Today, as part of the Group of Eight summit meeting, Microsoft Corp. pledged nearly $1 million for four new initiatives to help communities around the world bridge the digital divide. Additionally, Microsoft endorsed the White House global digital divide Call to Action and served as a founding member of the President’s
“Digital Leaders Program,”
a group of industry leaders including Andersen Consulting, Cisco Systems Inc., IBM Corp., Eastman Kodak Co., America Online Inc., Motorola Inc. and Lucent Technologies Inc. who together have committed to help create digital opportunity for the people of the world, and to take concrete steps to help facilitate these opportunities.

The Microsoft initiatives are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to bring access to underrepresented communities, both domestically and internationally, and will be rolled out in India, Korea, Russia and Colombia. Each program is both geographically and programmatically diverse, with grants for innovative programs such as establishing technology centers in remote regions of Western Siberia, and providing software and instruction to help youth and adults in Korean detention centers emerge with marketable skills.

“The digital divide is not confined within the borders of the United States. Internationally, communities face different barriers to access, but barriers nonetheless, and Microsoft has an ongoing commitment to helping bridge this divide,”
said Bruce Brooks, director of Community Affairs at Microsoft.
“We have a strong belief that if you provide people with the resources they need, they can accomplish great things. Today’s announcements are but a piece of the work that needs to be done. We pledge to continue supporting both public and private efforts, as well as innovative programs in communities where our employees live and work, to help our neighbors cross the digital divide to improved educational and economic opportunities.”

Microsoft will make a grant of $200,000 and $65,000 in software to the New Perspectives Foundation (through the International Youth Foundation) in Russia to establish five connected multimedia PC learning centers in Western Siberia and the rural Lipetsk region. The PC learning centers will enable 500 young people to develop new skills to further their academic studies and gain employment opportunities.

In Korea, Microsoft will donate $178,000 and $255,000 in software, and will join with the Seoul Probation Office and 12 juvenile reformatories to train staff and establish training facilities with PCs, Internet access, study rooms and consulting rooms to help these correctional facilities offer marketable skills for employment and productive reintegration into society for their juvenile and adult offenders.

Microsoft India will be making a grant of $66,500 plus training and $25,000 in software to the Sophia Opportunity School to fund the establishment of an interactive 25-computer multimedia playing lab for children with developmental disabilities. The PC computer center will introduce an early intervention program that floods infants with a variety of sensory stimulations and increases their learning opportunities.

In Colombia, Microsoft will be making a grant of $40,000 in cash and $32,000 in software to the Carvajal Foundation to establish a Didactical Unit (DU) in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Cali. The DU will be a facility available for public and private schools in the area, with the objective of offering several learning facilities to enhance the quality of education available to the community. The DU will include a connected 25-PC lab or
“Computer and Internet Hall”
with trained staff, an audiovisual hall, a library and reference area.

Today’s announcement is in addition to the more than $21 million ($8 million in cash and approximately $13 million in Microsoft® software) that Microsoft has contributed through its International Community Affairs program in the past year alone. Microsoft plans to fund over 95 local, community-based projects in 67 countries throughout the world. International areas of giving include the following:

  • Enabling learning through the effective use of technology

  • Providing access to information technology skills training with a particular focus on helping provide opportunities for employment

  • Improving the effectiveness and productivity of nongovernmental, charitable organizations by providing software and technical assistance

  • Providing support for disaster relief efforts

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies 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.

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