Microsoft CEO brings grants to 2 non-profits
December 1, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Microsoft Corp. CEO
Steve Ballmer came to Chicago on Tuesday to talk about innovation,
and he backed up his rallying cry with $360,000 in grants to two
Chicago area non-profits to enable underserved local communities
to take advantage of state-of-the-art technology.
a sell-out crowd of nearly 800 at the Executives' Club of Chicago,
Ballmer announced a $126,000 grant of cash and software will go
to Chicago's IT Resource Center, which provides tech support for
non-profit organizations, and a $234,000 grant of software to
the Chicago Urban League.
has donated more than $14 million in cash and software to Chicago
area not-for-profit institutions since 2002. Over the past two
years, Microsoft has supported more than 900 not-for-profits across
a leadership position in the industry which brings with it some
responsibilities," Ballmer said in an interview before his
speech. "No one company, no one government, no one set of
public-private partnerships will eliminate the digital divide.
People can make incremental contributions. We've got to make a
contribution to both show the way and prime the pump to encourage
others to get involved."
a wonderful investment in Chicago," said Deborah Strauss,
executive director of the IT Resource Center. "We feel fortunate
to be singled out, because these are very competitive grants across
to the IT Resource Center will fund its Community Technology Center
Accelerator program and the hiring of community technology assistants
in up to eight neighborhood technology centers, providing training
and support to non-profits serving economically challenged neighborhoods
across the Chicago area.
supporting these programs gives our community a real advantage.
To get into the work force you need a strong background in Microsoft
Office," said Kenneth Serrano, a technology assistant with
the Hispanic Housing Development Corp. in Logan Square. His center
provides computer-based education programs for adults seeking
to pass the GED.
people confidence they can learn and understand it's never too
late," said Serrano.
to the Chicago Urban League will allow the organization to upgrade
its technology infrastructure and expand its technology training
programs at its free community technology center.
came to Chicago Tuesday night with a clear message for CEOs and
those aspiring to lead organizations: Innovation is back, because
it is a critical enabler of success.
In a pragmatic
and practical presentation before the Executives' Club, Ballmer
said, "Every business really does need to innovate to thrive.
How do you maintain, sustain and invest in a culture of innovation?
Software is pretty pure on this. Software doesn't get consumed.
It doesn't wear out. You either innovate or you die."
Krauss writes about technology and innovation for the Sun-Times.