Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Launches YouthSpark Program


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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has always been one of the more philanthropic companies in the U.S., with founder Bill Gates always being very active in his outreach and charity despite being one of the world’s richest men for many years.  While Microsoft has provided much fo its software and some computers to various schools and non-profit organizations in the past, now the company is announcing a new philanthropic program called YouthSpark.

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While details on this new venture are still vague, a Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) blog post said the company will work with business, municipalities and non-profits to “close the opportunity divide for youth.” One report suggested that Microsoft is committing $500 million in cash over three years, with the total value of its contributions being listed in “multiple billions” with the addition of technologies. In a press release by the company, “Through Microsoft YouthSpark, the company will dedicate the majority of its cash contributions to nonprofits that serve the youth population around the world.”

Youth who participate in the program would be able to use Office 365, free tech tools for educators and studens, plus Skype capability in classrooms and a “free global community” which would allow students and teachers to connect with others internationally.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) posted in its Citizenship blog, “We are activating the company around this challenge because that’s how we can have the greatest impact. We will help young people access a wide range of Microsoft programs that share the common objective of supporting and serving young people in their quest for opportunity. This includes, among others, Partners in Learning, Office 365 for Education, Skype in the Classroom, DreamSpark, Imagine Cup, and BizSpark.”

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has an established reputation for its charitable work, so this new program may not necessarily move the needle for investors in Microsoft stock – like hedge-fund manager Seth Klarman of Baupost Group, for example – because the philanthropy just might be already written into the stock price. It might only be long-term impact of the program that may pay dividends, so to speak, later.

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