Microsoft and Real Madrid: Can passion improve the future?

Over the past three years, Microsoft has held a strong partnership with Real Madrid Foundation, in partnership with our corporate citizenship programs. Working with the Foundation to support its work globally, we donate software for Foundation employees, volunteers and eligible local partners who use the Office 365 Platform to boost productivity and increase effectiveness through better collaboration. The use of Yammer in the past year has created a community among these groups for sharing of experiences and knowledge. Empowered with this connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork, those working with the Foundation can be more efficient and effective.

It’s no understatement to say that soccer is a game of passion all over the world. In our four-year technology partnership with Real Madrid C.F., our headline is “Passion Powers Passion,” because we have a shared belief that passion can move the world, and sport can be more than just a game. For youth, especially in underserved communities worldwide, sport can be a tremendous outlet for social integration and economic empowerment.

Empowering youth through passion for sport is not a unique concept. Indeed, several national and global organizations such as Right to Play and Hoops4Hope have recognized that participation in sport can serve as a catalyst for social development as well as personal development both physically and emotionally. The International Olympic Committee has recognized sports’ ability to promote a more peaceful and prosperous society in different geographical, cultural and political contexts.

In parallel, exposure to technology and IT skills can enable access to a better future and a path to economic empowerment, particularly in our highly connected, mobile-first, cloud-first world. Coupled with the values, skills and leadership one learns from sport, technology and sport can be a powerful partnership to empower and bring about social change. As in a team sport, work for social good requires partnership and a deliberate pacing. Our ambitious goals cannot be achieved in one year or even five, but by taking a long term view, we can measure change not on one goal or one game, but over many seasons.

Supporting nonprofits has and will always be a cornerstone of our Microsoft company culture. The company and our employees collectively give thousands of hours, and donate more than $1 billion a year, to more than 86,000 nonprofits around the world. As in our latest campaign to kick off Windows 10 with $10 million dollars for charity, software donation and helping nonprofits find technology solutions enable a catalyst effect in supporting their work in local communities. To date, the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative has created opportunities for more than 227 million youth worldwide, including 124 million just last year.

Over 40,000 children at risk of social exclusion in several countries have participated in our project. These children are learning more than just skills, they are also learning through play that goals aren’t celebrated individually, and that a true win comes through great team work. We put together a short video, above, so you can witness the impact this work has had on the lives of youth.

At Microsoft and Real Madrid, we share in the belief of a future with greater possibilities for everyone, and we are committed to changing it through our shared values. Our passion is to empower people through passion for sport, and provide the tools that heighten their natural talents. In time, these well-paced efforts will inspire youth, who go on to take the lead in changing not only their lives, but also the lives of others around them, inspiring with passion real impact in their local and global communities.