Microsoft Announces $1 Million in Unlimited Potential Software Grants To the Appalachian Regional Commission

SOUTH POINT, Ohio, Oct. 27, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a donation of $1 million in Unlimited Potential software grants to support the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) plan for broadband deployment in rural communities in the Appalachian region of 13 states.

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne Pope joined Ed Ingle, senior director of Legislative Affairs at Microsoft, to make the announcement at The Point Industrial Park in South Point. The Unlimited Potential software grants will be made through the ARC to local governments, community-based groups and educational institutions in the Appalachian region of 13 states, with priority given to recipients in economically distressed areas. The grants will not only assist in broadband deployment throughout the region, they will also be directed at education and work-force training programs in those areas. Grant recipients will also receive Microsoft®
Unlimited Potential IT Skills training curriculum. The training curriculum is intended to be a resource to support community learning and enable individuals to acquire the skills to use technology effectively to help themselves and their communities. The Microsoft Unlimited Potential initiative is dedicated to improving lifelong learning for underserved youth and adults by providing technology-related skills through community-based technology and learning centers (CTLCs).

“Microsoft is proud to help the ARC jump-start broadband deployment in rural and economically challenged areas across Appalachia,” said Pamela Passman, vice president of Global Corporate Affairs at Microsoft.

Passman, who oversees the Unlimited Potential initiative, continued, “Microsoft’s mission has always been to help people realize their potential, no matter what their geographic or economic circumstances. Enhanced software assists in work-force development and education, critical building blocks to help individuals and small businesses in rural communities come closer to achieving their goals.”

“Technology and training play critical roles in fostering economic opportunity, and Microsoft’s software donation will help deliver the know-how and skills needed for these underserved communities to be well-prepared to participate in today’s work force,” Sen. Voinovich said.

“Microsoft’s gift today is a shot in the arm for our efforts to expand the quality of public computer access in Appalachia, which is essential to making the region competitive in today’s economy,” Pope said. “We see this as a model of the public-private partnerships that are critical to bringing advanced telecommunication services to our region.”

The Microsoft software donation will be targeted at facilitating broadband deployment, education and work-force training across Appalachia. The Appalachia region includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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