Microsoft Philanthropies – which was formed in December 2015 – is to donate US$1 billion of Microsoft Cloud Services to nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years.
The donation is part of Microsoft’s new three-part initiative to ensure Microsoft Cloud Services can ‘serve the public good in the broadest sense’ and lead to breakthroughs in science and technology, and various economic and social challenges, including ending poverty and ensuring affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all.
“Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organisations around the planet with a donation of cloud computing services – the most transformative technologies of our generation,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO. “Now more than 70,000 organisations will have access to technology that will help them solve our greatest societal challenges and ultimately improve the human condition and drive new growth equally.”
Building on the successful programme that provides Microsoft Office 365 to nonprofits, the new global cloud donation programme will make Microsoft Azure, Power BI, Dynamics CRM Online and the Enterprise Mobility Suite available to more non-profit organisations. The services will begin rolling out this spring and Microsoft Philanthropies aims to serve 70,000 nonprofits by 2019.
In addition, Microsoft Research and Microsoft Philanthropies will expand the Microsoft Azure for Research programme by 50%. This will grant free Azure storage and computing resources to universities to help faculty members accelerate their research. To date this programme has supported more than 600 research projects on six continents.
Microsoft Philanthropies will also join with Microsoft Business Development provide access to cloud services and new, low-cost last-mile internet access technologies for remote communities. By combining cloud services with connectivity and training, and focusing on new public-private partnerships, Microsoft Philanthropies intends to support 20 of these projects in at least 15 countries around the world by the middle of 2017.
“We’re committed to helping nonprofit groups and universities use cloud computing to address fundamental human challenges,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft president. “One of our ambitions for Microsoft Philanthropies is to partner with these groups and ensure that cloud computing reaches more people and serves the broadest array of societal needs.”
Providing nonprofits with better access to Microsoft Cloud Services builds upon Microsoft’s longtime commitment to making cloud technology available at no or low cost to organisations working on solving some of society’s toughest problems.
For example, Microsoft Research has provided 700 wireless sensors, cloud technology and automated data stream technology to the São Paulo Research Foundation Biodiversity Research Program to help it understand how cloud forests work and study the impact of climate changes on the communities supported by those forests.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has partnered with the Botswana Innovation Hub, Vista Life Sciences, the United States Agency for International Development and Global Broadband Solutions to assist Botswana, the University of Pennsylvania and the Ministry of Health to leverage cloud-based health records management. It has also provided internet access to remotely deliver specialised medicine, including cervical cancer screenings to women at rural healthcare clinics.
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