Microsoft executives on poverty

It is rare that I would share an email publicly. But this one is pretty interesting. Microfinance, poverty elimination and Unitus are gaining popularity in the Microsoft community. Ed Bland, former General Manager of XBOX marketing (he and his team first launched one of the biggest marketing campaigns for the first launch of XBOX), recently left Microsoft to join Unitus as the COO. Here’s a mail from him, with interesting video messages from other Microsoft executives and employees.

Dear Kintan,

When I left Microsoft two years ago, I set out to discover how I could best invest my time and effort to make a real difference in the world.  But where was the greatest need?  Here’s what I learned:

  • Half the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day.
  • Over 100 million primary school-age children are not in school today because they cannot afford to be there.
  • Every year, 6 million children die from malnutrition before their 5th birthday.

Despite the numbers, there is reason for hope—and for action.  As I dug deeper into these issues, one idea kept surfacing: microfinance.  It was a concept as quantitatively successful as it was radically ambitious.  Microfinance offered the big idea I was after—a remarkably effective, sustainable, and scalable approach to alleviating global poverty.  And among the most innovative organizations leading this movement, one stood out: Unitus.

I have been the COO of Unitus for just over a month now.  In that time, I’ve visited several of our partners (the small banks to the poor that we partner with and help rapidly grow), have seen our impact on the ground, and have met women and men lifting themselves out of poverty with nothing more than a small loan, hard work, and an overwhelming desire to improve their family’s future.

Microfinance works.  Unitus is making it work for more people by increasing access to these life-changing financial services throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  Our partners add clients an incredible 11 times faster than the industry average.  But today we need your help to realize our ambition of reaching 15 million of the working poor by 2010.

Click here to support Unitus through the Microsoft Giving Campaign.

Best regards,

Ed Bland
Chief Operating Officer

p.s.  To the right and below you’ll find several familiar faces explaining why they support Unitus.  I hope you will join them, and me, as we change the lives of millions now and for generations to come. You can also help by forwarding this email to your Microsoft friends and colleagues!

Steve Burns

Kintan Brahmbhatt

Abhay Parasnis

Mike Blaylock

Steve Burns
Principal SDE,
Dynamic Systems Foundation

Kintan Brahmbhatt
Program Manager, Unified Communications Group

Abhay Parasnis
Director, Windows Live Core

Mike Blaylock
Partner Test Manager, Office

Technorati tags: poverty , Unitus , Microsoft , Giving , Corporate Philanthropy , microfinance

2 thoughts on “Microsoft executives on poverty

  1. Microsoft executives on poverty

    kintya: technology | entrepreneurship | design Microsoft executives on poverty It is rare that I would

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