Microsoft has announced that it is expanding its commitment to corporate philanthropy and, to help drive that commitment, is launching a new organization, Microsoft Philanthropies, within the company.
In a blog post, Microsoft president Brad Smith wrote that, through the new entity, the company will "contribute in new and more impactful ways to a societal ecosystem that connects the benefits of technology to those who need it most and work harder to drive inclusive growth of the global economy." "We will strive," Smith added, "to bridge gaps within and across communities through more widespread access to technology that enhances the productivity and quality of life for the people of those communities." To that end, Microsoft Philanthropies will invest in digital inclusion programs and partnerships and leverage existing strategic societal investments of cash and technology, the technical talents of its employees, creative and collaborative partnerships, and the reach and scale of its brand. Earlier this year, Microsoft committed $75 million over three years to its YouthSpark initiative, which is focused on expanding access to computer science education for youth from underrepresented backgrounds.
The new entity will be headed by Mary Snapp, who joined the company in 1988 as its first female lawyer and since 2002 has also led the Corporate External Legal Affairs Department's diversity and inclusion efforts. Microsoft general manager Lori Forte Harnick will serve as chief operating officer of the organization.
"[Microsoft Philanthropies will] help bring to life the company's mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more," said Snapp. "[The MP team] will look to invest the company's strongest assets — technology, money, employee talent, and the company's voice — to partner with nonprofits and communities to create lasting positive impact."