Microsoft Philanthropies, which launched in December, is to give $1 billion in cloud services to non-profit organisations and university researchers over the next three years, supported by Microsoft Research, and Microsoft Business Development.
The project will see 70,000 non-profits receive Microsoft’s cloud services through donations and discounts, which will include its Azure, Office 365, Power BI, CRM Online, and Enterprise Mobility Suite products.
The non-profit programme will begin rolling out this spring with the goal of serving 70,000 NGOs by the end of 2017. Microsoft expects that in 2016 alone its cloud service donations to non-profits will reach a market value of close to $350 million.
In the UK, Microsoft currently donates cloud services, software, and provides volume discounts to NGOs. Charities can check their eligibility and apply on the Microsoft site.
The second stage will see Microsoft Research expand cloud access for research by expanding its Azure for Research grant programme by 50 per cent to provide support for 900 university researchers and their projects. The programme invites researchers to apply for Azure cloud computing resources by submitting a research proposal online and detailing how the cloud could help solve some of the research challenges. Winning proposals are awarded large allocations of Azure storage and computer resources for one year.
The third stage of the project will see the Microsoft Business Development Group and Microsoft Philosophies increase the number of projects in its Affordable Access Initiative, which provides grants to businesses to help more people get online, to 20 in at least 15 countries worldwide by mid-2017.
Microsoft president Brad Smith said:
“We’re committed to helping non-profit groups and universities use cloud computing to address fundamental human challenges. One of our ambitions for Microsoft Philanthropies is to partner with these groups and ensure that cloud computing reaches more people and serves the broadest array of societal needs.”