Microsoft Launches YouthSpark Atlanta With Major Education Alliance and $7.5 Million Donation

REDMOND, Wash. — April 19, 2013  Microsoft Corp. today hosted the kickoff event for its Microsoft YouthSpark initiative in Atlanta by bringing together more than 150 leading educators, government officials and nonprofits to discuss the state of youth education in the area. As part of the YouthSpark Atlanta launch, Microsoft signed an education alliance agreement with Morehouse College, one of the leading private Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country.

“At Morehouse, our focus is on educating and preparing leaders who can make a difference in their communities,” said Dr. John Silvanus Wilson Jr., president, Morehouse College. “We know Microsoft shares that focus, and we’re excited to partner with the company on this unique education alliance.”

The education alliance between Microsoft and Morehouse will bring key components of the YouthSpark programs to Morehouse’s student body. These programs include the following:

  • Microsoft IT Academy. This offers students and faculty members access to free training and IT skills training, which gives students the skills employers demand and the tools to build successful careers in technology.
  • Microsoft Innovation Lab. The Innovation Lab will provide technology resources to students, educators and entrepreneurial members of the Morehouse community. These resources include a new computer lab, collaboration tools such as SMART Boards, and programs to help enhance technical skills for Morehouse students and the surrounding community.
  • Campus recruitment. In collaboration with the United Negro College Fund, Microsoft will conduct recruiting visits to Morehouse, targeting undergrad and MBA graduate students. Microsoft also will host a Microsoft Recruiting Day at Morehouse to engage and interview students for open jobs at the company.
  • Leadership series. Microsoft executives will engage in executive lectures and presidential chats to share insights on running a global technology business. In addition, select Morehouse students will learn more about specific Microsoft subsidiaries by visiting Microsoft offices in the United States or abroad.

Through these programs, Microsoft aims to inspire Morehouse students to explore careers in technology and business. Participating Morehouse students will receive unparalleled access to Microsoft technology, training and executive mentorship — something they cannot get in a normal classroom setting.

“Morehouse is recognized as one of the best liberal arts institutions in the country,” said Marietta Davis, general manager, Greater Southeast District, Microsoft. “With this new alliance, the Morehouse community — students, faculty and local educators — will get best-in-class technology and real-world mentorship to further prepare their students for success outside the classroom.”

The alliance between Morehouse and Microsoft is part of a broader partnership between Microsoft and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In November, Microsoft signed a similar education alliance with Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., to enable its students to get firsthand technology training and to explore careers in technology.

$7.5 Million Donation to Leading Non Profit Youth Villages

In addition to the education alliance with Morehouse College, Microsoft announced a $7.5 million software donation to Youth Villages, one of the nation’s largest providers of help to children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families. This year, Youth Villages will help more than 20,000 children, families and young people from more than 20 states and the District of Columbia.

“Microsoft is one of our most important partners,” said Patrick Lawler, CEO, Youth Villages. “Since 1997, its generosity has allowed us to provide the best computer technology to our kids. This grant means Microsoft’s total support of Youth Villages’ children comes to nearly $13 million, which has helped our youth learn computer skills and allowed us to support our staff with modern clinical records and office technology.”

The $7.5 million donation announced today will go toward updating the technology in Youth Villages’ residential campuses, such as its Douglasville, Ga., location. The Douglasville campus will receive updates including the latest Microsoft online learning curriculum to help students learn the fundamentals in word processing and presentations. In addition, Youth Villages’ transitional living program participants will use the technology to study for their GED certificates, apply for college, prepare resumes and look for employment.

Youth Villages’ other residential campuses in Tennessee, Massachusetts and Oregon will benefit from the technology donation, as well. The grant also provides the technology to enhance internal and external communications systems for more than 2,700 Youth Villages staff members who perform critical functions each day, such as accessing medical records, documenting treatment plans, and reporting to parents and referral partners.

A Conversation on Youth Education in Atlanta

Today’s YouthSpark Connections event in Atlanta will feature a number of distinguished civic leaders from the Atlanta area. Those scheduled to attend include Bernice King, CEO, The King Center; Dr. John Wilson, president, Morehouse College; Dr. John Barge, Georgia State School Superintendent; Wes Moore, best-selling author; Lenny Springs, senior advisor, U.S. Department of Education; Ceasar Mitchell, president, Atlanta City Council; Sheila Lienhart, board member, Portland Oregon Public Schools Foundation; Byron Amos, vice chair, Atlanta Board of Education; Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, Atlanta Board of Education; and Kelly Marlow, Cherokee County Board of Education.

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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