Microsoft Canada pledges $3.5 million to kids@computers Scholarship Project|
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As lead sponsor, Microsoft Canada has made a commitment of $3.5 million in
software and support to the kids@computers Scholarship Project. This innovative
project, co-ordinated by Toronto Social Services, provides computer
orientations and home computers to children and their families who are in
receipt of social assistance.
kids@computers began operations in 2001, using funds the City of Toronto
received from the Province of Ontario for exceeding its Ontario Works targets.
In that first year, the project provided home computers and orientations for
361 families, including 1,347 children. In 2002, the project was expanded,
again using funds received from the Province of Ontario. An estimated 1,700
families, including almost 5,500 children, will receive the computers and the
training they need to cross the digital divide this year.
"This project has already made a difference in the lives of almost 7,000
children, but there are many, many more still waiting for this chance," said
Deputy Mayor Case Ootes. "I congratulate Toronto Social Services for this
achievement, and I welcome Microsoft Canada as a partner in this exciting
initiative. As the lead corporate sponsor, Microsoft Canada is setting a
partnership standard for other corporations that will also benefit from the
skills and the technological training the children will ultimately bring to the
workforce. This is a perfect example of government and the private sector
getting together to tackle a problem and create exciting solutions that benefit
the whole community."
"At Microsoft Canada, we see no limits to the potential of children," said
Chris Stanley, Vice President - Enterprise Business, Microsoft Canada. "Amazing
things can happen when the right people, tools and resources come together, and
the kids@computers Scholarship Project is a great example of this. We are proud
to support the City of Toronto on this initiative and look forward to helping
so many Toronto children and their families gain access to technology and
empowering them to realize their potential."
Other City operations have become partners with Toronto Social Services to help
thousands of children cross the digital divide. The list of City partners
helping to provide training facilities, training staff and mentoring
opportunities now includes the Toronto Public Library, Toronto Fire Services,
Toronto Parks and Recreation and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
Applications for the project are taken through Toronto Social Services area
offices, on a first-come, first-served basis. As part of the application,
children aged 8 - 14 have to write a short essay on why they want a computer
and include a letter of reference from an adult in a position of responsibility.
Even with the expansion of the project in 2002, thousands of children remain on
the waiting list. The new partnership with Microsoft Canada will result in
thousands of more kids and their families receiving the technology to bridge
the digital divide and compete in today's technology-driven world.
The City of Toronto's kids@computers Scholarship Project will continue to
solicit partnerships with private-sector sponsors and invite businesses to
invest now in the children who will be the workforce of the future.