Microsoft has made significant headway on its goal to provide $1 billion in cloud services for non-profits and researchers over three years, donating $465 million in cloud services to 71,000 organizations so far in its first year of the effort.
Microsoft Philanthropies was created just over a year ago “to realize the promise and potential of technology for everyone,” according to a blog post this week by Mary Snapp, corporate vice president of Microsoft Philanthropies.
Along with donating cloud computing, the efforts of the initiative have included delivering connectivity to remote schools, health clinics and community centers in 11 countries, and in the U.S. specifically, expanding access to computer science education to 225 high schools.
“If there’s a single technology that is making today’s technology-driven change possible, it’s cloud computing. Our ability to work from anywhere, at any time. The emergence of self-driving cars. Individualized medicine based on the analysis of a person’s genetics. All of these things are made possible by the cloud,” Snapp said. “But to realize the full potential of the cloud to create economic opportunity and address the world’s most difficult challenges, the power of cloud computing must be available to nonprofit organizations and researchers, and to individuals who lack affordable broadband access. Therefore, in January of last year, we announced a three-year initiative to donate $1 billion in cloud computing resources to 70,000 nonprofit organizations and 900 university researchers, and to expand broadband access in 15 countries.”
Snapp said that in 2017 Microsoft Philanthropies will continue to drive initiatives in education, increase support for its humanitarian action, and work to make technology more accessible for people with disabilities.
The promises build on a vision laid out by Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July, where he talked about the company’s role in building a “cloud for good.”
In an interview last year with The New York Times, Microsoft said it would not take a tax deduction for its donated cloud services.
Microsoft was named one of the 20 most charitable companies of the Fortune 500 last year, as was Google, who last month committed $11.5 million to support racial justice, split between 10 different causes.
In January, Google pledged $4 million in donations to the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and UNHCR in conjunction with President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.