NEW ORLEANS, July 19, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today announced the company is expanding its support of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Inc. with a $25 million software grant. UNCF President and CEO William H. Gray III was on hand at Xavier University, a UNCF school in New Orleans, to accept the donation on behalf of the organization’s 39 member institutions across the country.
In addition to the software for UNCF, Gates announced that Microsoft is donating 150 Dell computers fully loaded with software to the TRIO Upward Bound program at Xavier University and five New Orleans public schools. Funded by the federal government to help Americans overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education, Upward Bound provides the academic strength, skills and motivation necessary for post-secondary education success.
“At Microsoft, we believe that technology can help everyone realize their full potential,” Gates said. “It’s our hope that today’s donations will enable the UNCF to expand educational opportunities for students in New Orleans and nationwide — today and for a lifetime.”
“One of the biggest obstacles colleges and universities face today is getting new technology adopted into the fabric of academia — from an infrastructure standpoint as well as through faculty training and development of new programs for students,” Gray said. “With the support of Microsoft, we hope to help bridge this digital divide by providing teachers and students with the resources they need to truly achieve their goals.”
Microsoft has had a history of supporting both UNCF and Xavier University. Since 1988, the company has given more than $100 million in cash and software to provide technology enrichment for faculty, administration and students at UNCF colleges and universities including nearby Dillard University. Xavier University has benefited from those UNCF resources, as well as from Microsoft’s direct contributions of cash and software to assist in the campus implementation and technical instruction of wireless networks and to upgrade software in the computer science lab.
Gates made the announcements from the Xavier University Library Resource Center, where he and Gray were joined by Rep. William J. Jefferson, Xavier president Norman C. Francis and Chris Broussard, a Xavier student who is an intern in the Microsoft Research Department. Gates was in New Orleans to attend the Microsoft Global Briefing (MGB), an annual meeting of Microsoft’s international sales, marketing and product support groups.
“I applaud Microsoft for taking the initiative to address the digital divide through this relationship, which will permit UNCF to upgrade its institutions by bolstering software, hardware, training and faculty development, and technical support,” said Jefferson. “I hope others will follow its lead and help enhance the educational excellence and work-force readiness of UNCF students.”
As part of the Microsoft-Dell Partners in Education Program, Microsoft and Dell also are donating a total of 150 new Dell computers preinstalled with the latest Microsoft®
software to Xavier University’s TRIO computer lab, TRIO Upward Bound affiliates Rabouin High School and Booker T. Washington High School in Orleans Parish, Ella Dellonde Elementary in Jefferson Parish, South Thibodaux Elementary in LaFourche Parish, and Honduras Elementary in Terrebonne Parish.
The computers were used as part of an on-site employee lab during Microsoft’s MGB sales meeting in New Orleans. Microsoft will cover the cost of transporting the computers to the schools and installing them. “Like Microsoft, Dell believes that in this increasingly digital age, it’s important to provide young people with opportunities to learn the technology skills needed for future success,” Gates said. “We thank Michael Dell and Dell Computer Corp. for providing these computers.”
“Xavier prides itself on providing students with an education experience that prepares them for success, especially in today’s technology-driven world,” Francis said. “With Microsoft’s assistance, we can further expand the computer science and engineering programs and continue to fulfill the goals of our TRIO/Upward Bound program.”
About Microsoft Community Affairs
In 1983, Microsoft established one of the first philanthropic efforts in the high-tech industry. Today, Microsoft Giving is aimed at providing underserved communities with the resources they need to help realize their full potential by supporting innovative programs and projects that enhance technology access, strengthen nonprofits through technology, diversify the technology work force and build community. In fiscal year 2002, Microsoft gave $39.9 million in cash and $207 million in software donations to more than 5,000 nonprofit organizations. In addition, Microsoft supports its employees’ individual acts of giving and the organizations that inspire them by matching, dollar for dollar, employee charitable contributions up to $12,000 per employee annually. More information on Microsoft Community Affairs is located at http://www.microsoft.com/giving/.
About the United Negro College Fund
Founded in 1944, the United Negro College Fund is the nation’s oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization. UNCF has raised nearly $1.8 billion to support its 39 member institutions and has helped more than 300,000 students earn undergraduate and graduate degrees. Currently, UNCF administers more than 450 programs, including scholarship programs, mentoring, summer enrichment, curriculum and faculty development and leadership development. For more information about UNCF, visit http://www.uncf.org/.
About the TRIO Upward Bound Program
TRIO is a federal government initiative to help Americans overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. One of seven TRIO programs, Upward Bound prepares and excites high school students for college by allowing them to attend a series of classes during the academic school year on sponsor university campuses. During the summer, students attend courses and live on campus in student housing. Xavier has been an Upward Bound sponsor university since 1966.
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