Submitted by: Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
Posted: Aug 22, 2008 – 02:25 PM EST
ARLINGTON, VA. - August 22, 2008 - Ashoka: Innovators for the Public today announced a $2.5 million software grant from Microsoft to increase Ashoka's ability to impact worldwide social change. Ashoka, the world's largest community of leading social entrepreneurs, will use the grant to support pattern changing ideas and the Ashoka Fellows who initiate them. The Microsoft partnership represents a milestone in Ashoka's capacity to breach the digital divide and catalyze far-reaching impact throughout the citizen sector.
Microsoft's software investment will help Ashoka execute its "Office in a Box" infrastructure build-out strategy, which includes the dissemination of "Entrepreneur's Toolkits" across 30 Ashoka offices around the world. In partnering with Ashoka, Microsoft is helping realize the goal of an Everyone a Changemaker(TM) world by allowing Ashoka to leverage its powerful network of over 2000 Ashoka Fellows who are launching, replicating and scaling innovative solutions to the world’s critical social issues. Says Ashoka Chief Information Officer Romanus Berg, "With an increasing amount of collaborators such as Microsoft helping empower more and more changemakers, Ashoka sees a tipping point of social solutions within reach, which will have an enormous positive impact on the social, economic and political landscape as we know it today."
"Microsoft is dedicated to working with organizations that drive and support innovative ideas with the potential to make a significant, positive change in the world," said Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Community Affairs at Microsoft. "We are proud to support Ashoka's mission of harnessing entrepreneurship to spread social change by providing the resources that will help extend their infrastructure and support continued growth worldwide through the benefits of technology."
Ashoka President Diana Wells was equally enthusiastic about the collaboration. "Our partnership with Microsoft allows us to create a highly-leveraged investment that can make a huge difference in alleviating social and economic inequality. Together we can expand the reach of Microsoft's innovative products to a large and often overlooked constituency who do not have the access to take advantage of the power of Microsoft tools."
Founded in 1980, Ashoka is the world's leading community of more than 2,000 leading social entrepreneurs. It champions the most important new social change ideas and supports the entrepreneurs behind them by helping them get started, grow, succeed and collaborate. As Ashoka expands its capacity to integrate and connect social and business entrepreneurs around the world, it builds an entrepreneurial infrastructure comprised of a series of global initiatives that supports the fast-growing needs of the citizen sector. Ashoka s vision is to create change today, for an Everyone a Changemaker(TM) society to become the reality of tomorrow. For more information, visit www.ashoka.org.