Microsoft will donate $1 billion in cloud computing resources to serve nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years.
Part of the new Microsoft Philanthropies initiative—founded in December and led by Mary Snapp—the grant is intended to help solve last-mile Internet access challenges.
“Now more than 70,000 organizations will have access to technology that will help them solve our greatest societal challenges and ultimately improve the human condition and drive new growth equality,” CEO Satya Nadella, who discussed the new push today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said in a statement.
In September, 193 heads of state and other world leaders adopted 17 sustainable development goals—from ending poverty and hunger to ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable energy—they hope to achieve by 2030. Microsoft believes cloud computing is an essential part of reaching those goals.
“We’re committed to helping nonprofit groups and universities use cloud computing to address fundamental human challenges,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said. “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.”
The company is taking a three-pronged approach to its philanthropic project:
- Making Microsoft Cloud Services more available to nonprofits: Microsoft Azure, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), CRM Online, and an expanded Office 365 Nonprofit program will begin rolling out this spring.
- Expanding by 50 percent the Azure for Research program in universities, which includes free Azure storage and computing resources.
- Reaching new communities with last-mile connectivity and cloud services: Redmond will combine cloud services with connectivity and community training to support projects across the globe.
“Taken together we believe these steps will ensure that nonprofit organizations and university researchers around the world obtain the access they need to pursue cutting-edge solutions to the world’s most pressing problems,” Smith wrote in a blog post.