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Microsoft Awards $5 Million Digital Divide Software Grant To National Urban League

Microsoft Awards $5 Million Digital Divide Software Grant To National Urban League

National Urban League officials say the $5 million software grant announced by the Microsoft Corp. will focus largely on education and tutoring assistance administered nationally by 102 local affiliates of the nation’s oldest and largest Black organization. Last month, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, announced the grant at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., during the 16th annual Blacks at Microsoft Minority Student Day.

The grant is supposed to help further the National Urban League’s goal of empowering Black communities.

“We’ll be able to better assist the over 600,000 African-American children and families we serve nationwide and help them to acquire the necessary skills to close the digital divide that still exists in America today,” says Marc H. Morial, the National Urban League’s president and CEO.

Urban League officials say rollout of the three-year, $5 million grant will provide the organization with the technology system assessments and software to improve its adult and youth programs as well as to encourage kids to pursue careers related to math and science. The grant will also provide the organization’s office with tools to integrate data systems and more effectively communicate with affiliates and volunteers across the nation.

“Access to technology and strong computer skills are necessary to ensure that our community is more economically competitive,” says Morial. “As a result of Microsoft’s generosity, the National Urban League and our affiliates will have the technology needed to enhance our wide array of programs from education assistance and job training to home ownership and business development initiatives.”

The Blacks at Microsoft group launched Minority Student Day as an event to teach minority students around the United States about opportunities in technology. Founded in 1989, Blacks at Microsoft is a company-sponsored employee affinity group that supports African-American employees at Microsoft.

“Microsoft is dedicated to working with organizations that serve and support diverse communities by providing educational opportunities,” says Claudette Whiting, the general manager of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Microsoft. “We are proud to work with the National Urban League to bring technology into urban communities.”

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