Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Will Use Microsoft Technology Grant To Help Transform Student Skills

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2003 — On the campuses of the 45 Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund (TMSF) member Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), more than 215,000 young people are being transformed from students into tomorrow’s teachers, doctors and other professionals. However, students attending HBCUs often do not get exposure to the latest technology, which can enhance their education and the skills needed in so many of today’s workplaces. Microsoft Corp. today announced a $15 million software grant to support the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Technology Initiative. The initiative will upgrade technology at public HBCUs to ensure these students are provided with a continuum of learning bolstered by technology, giving graduates the skills needed to succeed in today’s workplace.

On Capitol Hill, Congressional Black Caucus members, including Chairman Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, were on hand as TMSF Inc. President Dwayne Ashley accepted the donation on behalf of the TMSF’s 45 public HBCUs in 22 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The Congressional Black Caucus is proud of its relationship with Microsoft and the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. Historically Black Colleges and Universities have long been the training ground for African-American scholars and professionals,”
Cummings said.
“This grant will create a bridge that will help close the ‘digital divide’ in higher education and provide the necessary tools HBCUs need to compete in today’s global economy.”

A Comprehensive Grant: Software and Support

In addition to software for the TMSF, Microsoft will provide technical assistance in the development of the technology initiative. The goal is to enable the schools to upgrade their computers, increase efficiencies and help the TMSF expand technology training programs offered to students.

“Microsoft’s level of support is critically important to the long-term technology goals of our member schools and their ability to incorporate technology into their institutions’ education and service missions,”
Ashley said.
“As one of our major corporate partners and the largest donor to the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Technology Initiative, we hope that Microsoft’s donation and the technology expertise it is providing will be a catalyst to securing additional funding from other corporations that are committed to ensuring improved technology programs in public HBCUs.”

Competitive Distribution Process

The software grant will be distributed to the TMSF member institutions through a competitive process designed to identify the schools best prepared technologically to effectively use and implement software and solutions for the benefit of students, faculty and administration. TMSF member schools selected to receive software from the grant will implement technology solutions to help schools be more competitive; address key long-term technology needs and opportunities; and benefit students, faculty and administrative staffs.

“Commitment to helping diverse students achieve their potential through higher education is important to Microsoft,”
said Bruce Brooks, director of Community Affairs at Microsoft.
“We hope that with this $15 million software grant to the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, we can help institutions like HBCUs provide students with improved technology, support and, most important, opportunities to make a positive difference in their education, their work and their communities.”

Because each of the TMSF institutional members has varied technology capacity, each will receive its software donation by submitting an application and a technology plan to the committee.

The TMSF Technology Initiative is a multiyear effort to raise more than $100 million to ensure that all administrative staff, faculty and students are using the most-current technology applications, hardware, networking systems and data communications.

About the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund

The Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Inc., named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, is the only national organization of its type that provides merit-based scholarships and programmatic support to students attending the nation’s public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It also provides capacity building support to its 45 member schools, which educate 215,000 students annually. Since its inception in 1987, the Fund has awarded more than $20 million in scholarships and programmatic support to more than 4,400 students. TMSF also provides internship programs and joins corporate and foundation partners in providing leadership training and support to students preparing for undergraduate and professional schools.

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 .

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.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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