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The Business of Giving

Exploring philanthropy, non-profits and socially motivated business, from the Gates Foundation to your donation. A fresh look at the economy of good intentions.

November 16, 2009 at 3:22 PM

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Microsoft alumni find productive niche in non-profits

Posted by Kristi Heim

Update: And the winners are: Patrick Awuah of Ashesi University; Trish Millines-Dziko of Technology Access Foundation and John Wood of Room to Read.

Microsoft alumni have been a generous bunch. They've started at least 150 non-profits and given millions, if not billions, to causes from global health to education to equal rights.

Now the Microsoft Alumni Foundation is kicking off a new awards program to honor former employees working to improve the world through their philanthropy and socially motivated business.

On Wednesday evening, Bill and Melinda Gates will present the top three award winners as Integral Fellows, who will receive $25,000 each for the nonprofit of their choice. The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges -- former President Jimmy Carter, Bill Gates Sr., Bill Drayton, Pierre Omidyar, and Tom Tierney.

Of the 66 nominees, here are the six finalists:

Patrick Awuah of Ashesi University, an educational institution in Ghana whose mission is to educate African leaders of exceptional integrity and professional ability.

Peter Bladin of Grameen Foundation, which helps the world's poorest, especially women, improve their lives and escape poverty through access to microfinance and technology.

Linda English of Learning for International NGOs (LINGOs), a consortium of over 40 international humanitarian relief, development, conservation and health organizations providing the latest learning technologies and courses from partners to increase the skill levels of the international nonprofit employees and the impact of their programs.

Tom Ikeda of Densho, The Japanese American Legacy Project, which helps students explore issues of democracy, intolerance, wartime hysteria, and the responsibilities of citizenship through the examination of the unjust World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.

Trish Millines Dziko of Technology Access Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Seattle that is dedicated to preparing students of color for academic and professional success in today's technology-driven world.

John Wood of Room to Read, which partners with local communities in the developing world to provide quality educational opportunities by establishing libraries, creating local language children's literature, constructing schools, and providing education to girls.

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