Microsoft Philanthropies: Grants for Disasters and Refugees

OVERVIEW: Microsoft Philanthropies focuses its humanitarian grantmaking on helping refugee and displaced populations rebuild their lives.

IP TAKE: This funder, unsurprisingly, often supports projects that apply technological solutions to challenging issues faced by refugee and displaced people.  

PROFILE: Microsoft Philanthropies was established in part to “realize the promise and potential of technology for everyone.” The charitable arm of Microsoft hasn’t been around for that long and may still be getting its philanthropic footing, but has already made a solid commitment to the world's displaced and refugee populations.

Overall, Microsoft’s grantmaking revolves around goals such as digital inclusion and access to technology. The same goes for its humanitarian aid. Last year, the foundation put up millions of dollars in in-kind technology donations and grants to groups including Mercy Corps, International Rescue Committee, and SOS Children’s villages.

Surprisingly, Microsoft Philanthropies’ public profile is low key. It and offers very little information regarding its grantmaking preferences.  So far, the foundation has demonstrated an affinity for large international outfits such as those listed above.

As far as this funder’s humanitarian and disaster-related giving priorities are concerned, it wouldn’t be a reach to expect it to follow the company’s lead. Top priorities for Microsoft (the company) include empowering humanitarian aid groups to have greater impact and helping displaced people rebuild their lives.

While there is a definite technological bent to Microsoft Philanthropies’ grantmaking, it doesn't only back technology-driven work. Other matters of concern for the foundation include psychosocial programs for refugees and displaced people, language training, and job training.

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