Database software company Oracle Corp. has announced a commitment of $6 million toward the creation of the Oracle Help Us Help Foundation, which will work to increase Internet access among disadvantaged youth by providing computer equipment and software to public schools and nonprofits.
The foundation, which has its roots in a corporate giving program initiated by Oracle in 1997, has already approved forty grant packages that include Internet appliances — computers whose primary function is accessing the Internet — and laser printers to schools and youth organizations in California, Colorado, Utah, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. About 80 percent of the packages will go to public schools in the U.S., with the remaining 20 percent split between domestic nonprofits and international schools and nongovernmental organizations. In the future, Help Us Help hopes to augment the package with equipment either donated by other technology companies or purchased with donations to the foundation.
"Our goal is to ensure that all students have access to Internet technology, and to the learning opportunities that will enable them to succeed in the information age," said Lori Facey, vice president of Oracle Education Initiatives. "It's a tremendous goal and we need partners to help achieve it. This year, we estimate the Oracle Help Us Help Foundation will endow schools and community-based organizations reaching more than 50,000 kids — and that's a great start."
Chaired by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, the board of the Help Us Help foundation includes Oracle executives Safra Catz and Daniel Cooperman; former Assistant Secretary of Education Ramon Corines; Kenji Hakuta, a professor of education at Stanford; Sally Osberg, executive director of the Skoll Community Foundation; and Marshall Smith, a program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.