Microsoft’s 2013 YouthSpark Challenge for Change Winners: Where are They Now?

By Kari Sherrodd, senior manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs The inaugural Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change contest last year received hundreds of entries, and five inspirational winners were each awarded $2,500 to help fund their projects, as well as a Surface, a Windows Phone 8, an Xbox and a three-week volunteer travel experience to Kenya….


DigiGirlz Inspires Young Women to Explore STEM Careers

By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs Careers in technology are a hot topic of discussion these days, and for good reason. According to Code.org, computer science is a top paying college degree and computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average. Outside the United States, the tech sector is also…


We’re Matching Your Donations Today! Fund Innovative Projects to Transform Schools Worldwide

By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs Last month, at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum, I had the honor of judging “The School Pitch,” which was a challenge that asked principals and headmasters to share their vision for how they would transform their schools with extra funding and support. Modeled after the…


Seattle Art Museum Launches Microsoft-Powered Website

By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs The Seattle Art Museum’s first site, an art deco masterpiece perched atop one of the city’s tallest hills, opened for the first time in 1933. It hosted about 300,000 visitors in its first six months. Two more Seattle Art Museum (SAM) sites were welcomed decades later:…


Meet 20 Finalists and Vote for Your Favorite Change-Maker!

By Kari Sherrodd, senior manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs After reviewing impressive entries from more than 50 countries, our judging panel for this year’s Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change contest has finished the tough task of selecting 20 finalists. Now we’re asking you to make five of these inspiring change-makers our grand prize winners and…


Harnessing Disruption: The power of IT for disaster response

By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs, Microsoft  Some of the largest humanitarian relief organizations met this week in Luxembourg to discuss using technology to prepare and respond to emergencies.  The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, led by the World Food Programme and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), was…


Meet the Judges for Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change

By Elisa Willman, senior manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs We lined up a great panel of judges for Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change. They have backgrounds in social entrepreneurship, nonprofits and technology, and their job is to select 20 finalists with the most promising ideas to move to the next phase of the competition. They…


Impact Sourcing – The Opportunity Ahead

By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs Today I co-authored a blog post with Mamadou Biteye, managing director, Africa, Rockefeller Foundation about Impact Sourcing. Microsoft and the Rockefeller Foundation recently co-convened over 30 global industry experts in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss the future of Impact Sourcing. This was a follow-up meeting from…


Coding for Impact with Chelsea Clinton and CGIU

By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs If you knew how to code would you want to create the next hot social media app? Or would you try to save the world? There’s no reason you can’t do both, but through our YouthSpark initiative, we’re especially motivated to support students who aim to…


Power On! YouthSpark Hub Helps Youth Build Their Futures

By Yvonne Thomas, senior program manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs We’re excited to share that we’ve launched the updated YouthSpark Hub – an online resource from Microsoft to help youth gain skills, prepare for jobs or even start their own business. As Lisa Brummel, executive vice president, Human Resources, shared at We Day, “the YouthSpark…