Technology: Where Philanthropy Meets Innovation

| Robert Davy, General Manager, Microsoft Northeast District

Photo from #DigiGirlzDay 2014

Like two of Boston’s most beloved streets – Newbury St. and Mass Ave. – Microsoft’s business and citizenship teams are often viewed as two separate entities. However, technology is the intersection, which allows these two groups to come together for important causes.

Surprising statistics reveal many girls are not pursuing careers in technology. Citizenship programs offer opportunities to turn that trend around and show girls of all ages that technology is fun and exciting. The programs also go a step further to ensure young women are prepared for the high-tech jobs of the future.

One great example is DigiGirlz, a Microsoft YouthSpark program that brings together female middle-school and high-school students to combat the entrenched stereotypes associated with technology. Girls have a chance to participate in product demonstrations and hands-on workshops featuring local executives, and are educated on potential career opportunities they may not have otherwise explored.

Last year, a DigiGirlz Day was held at our Cambridge campus to show girls that IT is more than just staring at a computer screen punching code. Additional events were also held throughout the summer. DigiGirlz Camps are multi-day events that offer interaction with executive speakers and a more in-depth look at career options.

In addition to YouthSpark programs geared toward a younger generation on an individual level, Microsoft works with larger organizations to offer technology education and access on a larger scale.

Our Technology for Good program helps nonprofits around the world by providing affordable access to the technology they need to support their important work in local communities. Through software donations, technology solutions for nonprofit problems, or Office 365 for Nonprofits, we’re helping them be more efficient, effective and innovative.

In the coming year, the Microsoft Store at the Shops in Prudential Center and the Microsoft New England R&D Center will be hosting events for young people as well as adults to help them learn tech skills, often while making a difference in the community. Upcoming events include these:

  • Kids Learn to Code/CoderDojo. Parents can bring kids ages 7-17 to learn to code for free. Saturdays starting Jan. 10, 1-3 p.m., Microsoft New England R&D Center.
  • YouthSpark Winter Camps, Smart Game Designing. Kids ages 8-10 and 11-13 can learn to create, build and publish mobile games. Multiple sessions (see schedule), Microsoft Store.
  • Science Club for Girls Media Team. Girls work with staff members of the Media Team blog, MadSciMag, to explore the world of science journalism. Every two weeks starting Wednesday, Jan. 14, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Microsoft New England R&D Center.

As Microsoft continues to evolve, our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen expands in proportion. Whether it’s Xboxes for hospital patients, technology workshops for students or subscriptions to Office 365 for local nonprofit organizations, technology will continue to be the core of what we do on both our citizenship and business roads.

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