[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times Sept. 21, 2012.]
Microsoft announced Thursday that it’s undertaking a new global initiative to combat the “opportunity gap” for young people.
Philanthropically, the initiative is “the biggest step we’ve taken in the 37 years of the company,” said Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith.
Called YouthSpark, the program marks a new emphasis in Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts, one that focuses on global youth programs. The company said it is investing $500 million in the initiative. Some of the money will be shifted from other charitable areas in which the company is involved worldwide, and some of the money will be new.
Taken altogether, that means Microsoft is committing the majority of its corporate cash giving to philanthropic efforts that support and serve youth.
YouthSpark is aimed at creating opportunities such as education, employment and entrepreneurship for about 300 million youths in 100 countries over the next three years.
Microsoft is partnering with hundreds of nonprofits worldwide in the effort.
[Continue reading the story here.]