Strengthening communities

We work to drive greater economic opportunity, inclusion, and empowerment of people around the globe.

Our commitment and approach

We leverage a broad set of resources in our quest to empower communities and individuals.

Microsoft Philanthropies

We believe technology is a powerful force for good in a rapidly changing world, and through Microsoft Philanthropies, we’re working to ensure that everyone has access to the economic opportunities it provides. Every day we donate nearly two million dollars in products and services to nonprofits and we’ve pledged to donate one billion dollars in cloud services to nonprofits and academic researchers over three years. Through our YouthSpark grants, we’re working with nonprofits in 58 countries to increase access to computer science education.

Beyond philanthropy, the company advances community empowerment with commercial offerings and other programs. As a few examples:


Through CityNext, Microsoft and its partners empower cities and citizens to unlock their potential by delivering innovative digital services that can help them lead safer and healthier lives, enriched by high-quality education. CityNext helps cities engage their citizens, empower city employees, optimize city operations and infrastructure, and transform and accelerate innovation and opportunity.

The Microsoft Affordable Access Initiative

The  Microsoft Affordable Access Initiative seeks to empower the billions of people worldwide who do not have affordable access to the Internet. We believe we can spark global change by fueling innovation at the local level. Through partnerships, grants, investments, education, and advocacy, this project helps to create technology solutions, business models, and policies that help close the digital divide, with projects in 17 countries over the last five years.

Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative

Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative provides a set of programs to empower African youth, entrepreneurs, developers and business and civic leaders by with skill development, access to technology, and support for local innovation.

FY17 Highlights

We’re investing in the Cloud, making digital literacy accessible to young people, supporting refugees, and looking at ways to close the rural broadband gap in the U.S. once and for all.

  • Technology for social impact

    In January 2016 we announced that Microsoft would donate more than $1 billion in cloud technology to non-profits and university researchers. We’ve achieved that goal a year early, donating cloud services to more than 90,000 non-profits, and we aren’t stopping there. In September, we announced a plan to more than triple the number of non-profits we’ll reach to 300,000 over the next three years.

    Learn more about nonprofit offers from Microsoft
  • Digital skills and computer science education

    To ensure all young people are equipped to participate in an increasingly digital world, Microsoft invests in making digital skills—from digital literacy through computer science education—available to youth around the world, especially those youth least likely to have access. More than 80 percent of the students benefitting from YouthSpark grants and partnerships are from underserved communities, and more than half are female.

    Read about Microsoft YouthSpark
  • Humanitarian and refugee response

    In FY17, Microsoft Philanthropies provided more than $30 million in technology and cash donations to emergency response organizations and organizations serving refugees and displaced people including Mercy Corps, CARE, the International Rescue Committee, and NetHope. We also provide digital skills resources for nonprofits working with refugees.

    Find out more
  • Affordable broadband access

    In addition to a new rural broadband strategy to close the rural broadband gap in the U.S. within five years, Microsoft also announced a Rural Airband Initiative. We’re investing in partnerships with telecommunications companies to bring broadband connectivity to two million people in rural America, increase digital skills training in rural communities, and catalyze investments by sharing technologies we’ve developed.

    Read about the initiative
  • Donations and volunteerism

    In FY17, Microsoft Philanthropies donated more than $1.2 billion in software and services to non-profits worldwide as part of our focus on helping people get the skills and knowledge they need in today’s digital economy. In addition, our employees continue to demonstrate their generosity, having raised a record-breaking $142 million through our Employee Giving Program in 2016.

    Read more about our commitment to make a difference

FY17 Reporting resources

Get the bigger picture

Visit these key resources across to learn more about our efforts to empower communities.

Three diverse, young people with computing devices