Microsoft money for non-profits

First grants go to Dunedin and Helensville

Microsoft NZ this month launched its Unlimited Potential programme to encourage computer literacy.

The first two recipients of Microsoft grants are South Dunedin’s Approach Adult Learning Centre, run by the Dunedin Methodist Mission, and the Te Awaroa Youth Club in Helensville.

Microsoft says the two groups will share $200,000 in grants, software donations and a training programme. Microsoft spokeswoman Carol Leishman says grants are typically split 50/50 between cash and software donations, but don’t include the time spent by Microsoft staff and partners in training and assistance.

Both non-profits intend to use the grant to help local people learn computer skills, find skilled staff, and to assist with operational expenses and the provision of new computer equipment. Dunedin’s Approach Adult Learning Centre hopes to assist about 300 people, and the Kaipara Youth Club plans to help about 240 people.

Microsoft says it will invite applications for Unlimited Potential grants twice a year for at least the next four years. Applications for the next round of grants close in October. More information is posted on Microsoft’s website.

The Unlimited Potential programme is being run by Microsoft offices throughout the world. Earlier this month Bill Gates visited Sydney to launch the Australian Unlimited Potential programme with prime minister John Howard. Microsoft Australia said it would partner with a number of Australian non-profit organizations in a five-year AU$40 million programme to open more than 100 IT training centres in cities, suburbs and rural areas.

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