Microsoft Philanthropies Donates $1B in Cloud Tech to Nonprofits, Aims to Triple Impact

By Justin Spelhaug, General Manager, Microsoft Philanthropies
Sep 25, 2017 8:05 AM ET
Blog

The demands on nonprofits are perhaps greater today than ever. That’s why, in early 2016, Microsoft Philanthropies committed to donating $1 billion in cloud computing resources, over three years, to help 70,000 nonprofit organizations digitally scale their impact and serve the public good. Today, we’re proud to share that nonprofit demand for cloud solutions has dramatically exceeded our expectations. We have reached our original goal a year early and donated cloud services to more than 90,000 nonprofits.

In a moment, I’ll explain how we’re going to triple the number of nonprofits we reach with the transformational power of the cloud, to more than 300,000, over the next three years. We will do that because we want to build on the inspiring work nonprofits have done, using technology in innovative ways, over the past 18 months. Medical Teams International (MTI) is a great example. In Uganda, which faces one of the worst refugee crises in the world today, MTI provides medical care to 1 million patients a year. Its staff used to rely on paper records. But since its care providers generate about 10 million medical records each year, it was nearly impossible for the nonprofit’s healthcare professionals to sort through mountains of paper to quickly find potentially lifesaving trends in the data.

“When I found out that it took six or seven weeks to get information about the services provided at the healthcare clinics, I was really amazed,” said Patrick Taylor, who until his recent retirement directed IT for Medical Teams International.

Today, MTI uses a new app, built on Azure donated by Microsoft Philanthropies, to revolutionize the way it works. The app, designed by Cambia Health Solutions, has dramatically increased the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and treatment. “When we create a system that allows a doctor to move through patients more quickly, to provide better care, we’re honoring the dignity of the people who are coming and needing care,” Taylor says.  Perhaps even more important, health-care workers can now identify and stop infectious diseases like malaria before they become outbreaks.

We’re inspired by these kinds of stories, as they demonstrate the potential of technology to help transform how nonprofits pursue their missions and drive impact. As a result, we are working to help more nonprofits around the world more fully leverage the power of the cloud. Too many nonprofits have been left behind in the digital revolution that’s reshaping business and society. According to a 2017 Digital NGO Member Survey by NetHope, most nongovernmental organizations reported they do not have a comprehensive digital strategy. Many have a strong desire to adopt the latest technology, but struggle to envision, design and deploy technology to optimize their missions. Nearly half of nonprofits say their infrastructure is barely keeping up.

As an industry, we can help nonprofits digitally transform to raise funds, improve productivity, accelerate innovation and ultimately have a greater impact on the world’s most pressing issues. That’s why we’re announcing the formation of Microsoft’s Technology for Social Impact group, dedicated to serving the world’s nonprofit organizations. This new team will build the kind of robust ecosystem that today works so well for businesses, to help nonprofits move to the cloud and provide the support they need. We will continue to donate and discount cloud services for nonprofits. And today, we are sharing details of two new offers to bring value to the nonprofit community:

  • Microsoft 365 for Nonprofits, a complete, intelligent solution, including Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, that will empower nonprofits to be more creative and collaborate more easily. In a world where cyberattacks challenge organizations and place their beneficiaries at risk, Microsoft 365 offers a comprehensive shield through identity and access management, and information and threat protection.
  • Discounts on Surface Books and Surface Pros. Nonprofits deserve devices that will help them unlock the true potential of their people and teams, and improve the impact they have in the world. Surface devices bring the best of Office 365 to life and are designed to help people unlock their creativity and do more, through power, performance and unmatched inking. Now every nonprofit can more easily access the best of Office 365 and Windows 10, from inking, to biometrics to 3D experiences, and help improve and impact the lives of others. Microsoft Stores will offer 10 percent off on Surface and discounts will also be available through Surface channel partners.

This is only the beginning. In coming months, we will build upon these new offers, and on our longstanding commitment to nonprofits. We will engage with startups and incubators to create a pipeline of innovation for nonprofits, and help enable these technology professionals to build solutions that meet nonprofits’ unique needs. We will help build the kind of ecosystem that today works well for businesses — a community of providers that will distribute cloud services and deliver support and migration services for nonprofits. Together, we will help nonprofits raise more money, increase efficiencies and deliver the services on which their beneficiaries depend. 

More details about these offers, and a new white paper that provides nonprofits with concrete steps to begin digitally transforming their work, can be found on our new Nonprofits website.

As part of Microsoft’s commitment to donate $1 billion in cloud services, since 2016, Azure for Research has donated cloud services to researchers working on projects at 700 universities around the world. Azure for Research today published a video about one of those projects, at the University of Southampton, U.K.