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Donation News

Ghana School Without Computers Receives Donation from Microsoft

Richard Appiah Akoto is a junior high school teacher in Ghana who had a major obstacle. His students will have to pass an exam including computer skills questions, but his school hasn’t had any computers since 2011 due to budget shortfalls. He has over 100 students between 14 and 15, and only one of them managed to achieve an A grade last year.

So Akoto rose to the challenge. In chalk, he did a detailed walk-through of common software like Microsoft Word, showing them how to launch and operate the programs. He put a few pictures of his process online, via his Facebook. The pictures went viral, spreading like wildfire across Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.

One person spreading the post tagged @MicrosoftAfrica in her tweet. She wrote:

“Hey @MicrosoftAfrica, he’s teaching MS Word on a blackboard. Surely you can get him some proper resources.”

The same day, Microsoft Africa replied, saying they would get a device to Akoto, along with training resources. In the next few weeks, they flew him to Singapore for computer training and to attend an educator’s conference.

In the meantime, the viral post was catching other people’s attention. A benefactor at University of Leeds in the U.K. sent Akoto a laptop for his students. NIIT Ghana, a local computer training school, donated five desktops, books on computer skills, and a laptop. Akoto’s Facebook page is flooded with comments from individuals, companies, and news agencies offering more help.

Small donations, from the donors’ perspectives. But the value added to Akoto’s school and to the education of his students is immeasurable. His drawings were meticulous, ambitious, and a wonderful learning tool when nothing better was available. But teaching and learning on the real thing will take his students so much further. Another example of how social media has proven to be a powerful tool for those in need.

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News

Bill Gates Donates $4.6 Billion to Charity

Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, has just made his biggest contribution to charity since the year 2000. According to a recent U.S. Securities & Exchange filing, Gates gave 64 million Microsoft shares (the equivalent of $4.6 billion) to an undisclosed recipient.

Although the beneficiary has not been named, it is expected that the donation will go the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—a charitable organization that he and his wife founded in 2000 to improve global healthcare and reduce poverty. The foundation has not yet responded to requests for comment.

While $4.6 billion may sound like a lot of money, The Guardian reports that the shares donated only represent about 5% of Gates’ $90 billion fortune. But it doesn’t come without a cost. Gates’ latest act of generosity has reduced his stake in Microsoft to just 1.3%. In 1996, Gates owned 24% of Microsoft.

One of his biggest donations came in 1999, when he gifted $16 billion worth of Microsoft shares. The following year, he gave an additional $5.1 billion. To this day, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation remains the world’s largest private charity.

Also of note: Gates’ recent $4.6 billion donation is a record-setter. As The Guardian points out, it is the biggest charitable contribution made this year, topping a $3.2 billion donation from Warren Buffett last month.

In 2010, Bill and Melinda Gates teamed up with Buffett to create the Giving Pledge—a vow to donate at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity. More than 170 of the world’s wealthiest people have since taken the pledge, including Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg, and George Lucas.

“I realized ten years ago that my wealth has to go back to society,” Bill Gates once said. “A fortune, the size of which is hard to imagine, is best not passed on to one’s children. It’s not constructive for them.”

Bill and Melinda Gates have been very public about the fact that they will not be leaving all of their wealth to their children. The couple would rather their children make their own way in the world so that they will remain humble.

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Resources

Bill and Melinda Gates Will Not Be Leaving Children Their Fortune

At a recent TED conference in Vancouver Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, and his wife Melinda opened up about their personal lives. The pair said they would not be leaving all their wealth to their three children. The couple stated they will instead encourage their children to make their own way in the world.

Gates said that instead of just giving them money, they have given their two daughters and son a good education so they can pave their own success rather than rely on their parents’ fortune. Gates said: “We want to strike a balance so they have the freedom to do anything, but not sort of a lot of money showered on them so that they can go out and do nothing.”

Melinda Gates talked about a recent Tanzania trip she took with her eldest daughter Jen, where they stayed with a family in a rural area to learn more about the barriers to education for girls in the country. The couple stated Warren Buffet, who has taken a similar approach with his children, inspires their parenting style.

The Gates have joined the Giving Pledge, which is committed to diverting personal wealth to philanthropy, a pledge Buffet has also made. The couple argued that leaving a huge sum to their children is no good for their families or society.

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News

Paul Allen Fourth Biggest Giver in America

Paul Allen
IMG: REUTERS/Robert Sorbo

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has reported that Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen was the fourth most charitable giver in 2012.  The list is an impressive roundup of the nation’s wealthiest people, many of whom have famously committed to The Giving Pledge, an initiative started by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

Buffet lives up to his words at the top of the list, with donations adding up to over $3 billion.  Paul Allen’s childhood friend Bill Gates was surprisingly absent from the list, due mainly to the Chronicle’s methodology, which has already counted much of Gates’ philanthropy in previous years.  Allen is now the chairman of Vulcan, Inc. which supports business ventures and charitable projects.

To read more about Paul Allen, check out his full profile.

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Resources

Microsoft Employees Raise $1 Billion

Microsoft
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Founder Bill Gates commemorated Microsoft’s 30th Employee Giving Campaign.
IMG: via Microsoft

Bill Gates must be one proud man. Thirty years ago, his company, Microsoft, launched the Employee Giving Campaign—and it’s raised over $1 billion since. For every hour an employee spends volunteering, Microsoft donates $17. They also match every single contribution made by employees—dollar-for-dollar.

Today, about 65% of the company’s employees have chosen to take part in the campaign—that equals out to over 35,000 participants donating to 31,000 non-profit and community organizations all over the world. As one of the co-founders for The Giving Pledge, it seems Bill Gates is slowly but surely convincing the entire world that giving is good.

“The company and its employees have much to be proud of at this remarkable milestone and, I know, will continue to make a positive impact in the years ahead,” said Bill Gates. Proud, indeed. It’s great to see employers supporting charitable actions in its employees. With this program, Microsoft has really succeeded in cultivating a community of giving in its employees.

As a bonus to the celebrations, Microsoft will also be donating a $25,000 grant to The United Way of King County, World Vision International, Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the American National Red Cross—the four organizations that have garnered the most funding from Microsoft employees over the last thirty years.

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Profiles

Prominent People in Philanthropy: Bill Gates

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University and went on to found one of the world’s largest computer software companies, Microsoft. Since then, he has donated billions to charity, ranking number one on the Forbes Top 400 List for philanthropists in 2012. Most recently, Gates, along with his friend Warren Buffet, formed The Giving Pledge, which encourages the very wealthy to promise to give away at least half their wealth either during life or after death. Bill Gates is one of the most philanthropic and interesting entrepreneurs of all time.

To read more about Bill Gates, click here!