On February 22, 2018, Jennifer Brooks, Director of UN Relations at Microsoft Philanthropies (photo), was the PRSA Greater Fort Lauderdale guest speaker, discussing the role her department plays at the multinational technology company. Microsoft Philanthropies is made up of a small team that works on the company’s corporate social responsibility projects, as well as partnering with local nonprofits that are knowledgeable about issues locally, and implementing solutions. Although they work alongside organizations, Microsoft Philanthropies is not a foundation and is separate from the personal philanthropic work done by Bill and Melinda Gates at the Gates Foundation. Brooks described how the company believes that the world is currently in the fourth industrial revolution, which allows us to create technology rather than use it alone. Being a part of this era allows Microsoft Philanthropies to “innovate for impact” by actively investing in communities and having their employees participate in giving back as well. Microsoft has donated over $1 billion to over 71,000 nonprofit organizations.
While 48% of nonprofits describe their IT infrastructure as “barely maintaining” or “failing to maintain,” 77% of jobs will require IT/digital skills over the next decade. Computer science and information technology skills are in higher demand than they have ever been before, and the youth and women of today are rapidly dominating the industry. A percentage of the younger population that have already acquired these digital skills early on are more than likely to transcend them into their college education and develop careers centered around it. Yet, many countries around the world are not able to exploit their “demographic dividend”: the younger generation not being able to pursue a career due to the fact that there are not enough jobs for all children coming into the work force. These are one of the many reasons why Microsoft’s promise is “advancing a future that’s for everyone.” In other words, moving technology forward without leaving people behind. Jennifer’s presentation ultimately outlined why Microsoft Philanthropies play a major leadership role at both a national and regional level.
Download Jennifer’s presentation file.
Watch this video for an example of the way nonprofits partner with Microsoft.
This article explains more about Microsoft’s vision for the impact of technology in society: Future Computed
Here’s how to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.