Microsoft Alumni Recognized for Extraordinary Leadership in Philanthropy

Microsoft Alumni Recognized for Extraordinary Leadership in Philanthropy

Microsoft Alumni Foundation Announces 21 Nominees for the 2013 Integral Fellows Awards
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Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 9:30am

CAMPAIGN: Microsoft Alumni Foundation

CONTENT: Press Release

Bellevue, Wash., August 29, 2013 /3BL Media/ — The Microsoft Alumni Foundation has announced 21 nominees for its fifth annual Integral Fellows Awards, a program that recognizes and rewards Microsoft Corp. alumni for their nonprofit and philanthropic efforts. Each nominee represents a nonprofit organization either started by Microsoft alumni or where Microsoft alumni are making valuable contributions. From advancing green technology, to promoting STEM education, to ending human trafficking, to improving the lives of orphaned children, alumni of Microsoft are working to make the world a better place.

At the Microsoft Alumni Foundation’s annual celebration—Reunion with a Purpose—on November 1, 2013, up to three alumni from among the nominees will be named 2013 Integral Fellows. Each Fellow will receive a $25,000 unrestricted grant to benefit the nonprofit organization with which they work.

“We’re proud to show that in our fifth year of these awards, we have another outstanding group of nominees doing exemplary work in local communities and worldwide,” said Marylou Brannan, executive director of the Microsoft Alumni Foundation. “The foundation is pleased to recognize some of the many passionate and dedicated philanthropists who are Microsoft alumni and support their efforts.”

A panel of distinguished judges will select the Integral Fellows Awards winners:

  • Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, and senior advisor to the CEO, Save the Children

The nominees are devoted to a wide range of philanthropic endeavors:

Peter Bladin, vice president of the Green Technology Fund for Global Partnerships (Seattle, WA), focuses on providing access to sustainable and life-improving technologies for millions of people living in poverty. For example, Peter created 150 jobs in Haiti by launching a microfinance campaign to replace kerosene lanterns with solar lights for 100,000 people, resulting in cheaper and less environmentally harmful lighting.  

Rachel Bondi, the founder of Men Matter (Seal Beach, CA), works to raise awareness of the impact that men can have on women’s issues. For the past 10 years, Rachel has advocated for positive male mentoring, demonstrated how men’s choices influence domestic violence against women and children, and fostered a dialogue about gender, character and women’s leadership.

Erin Brewer is co-founder and president of the board of Academy for Precision Learning (Seattle, WA), a K-9 school where students, including those across the autism spectrum, learn in an inclusive, supportive and socially vibrant environment. Since 2007, attendance has grown from four to 75 students, and in September 2013, the Academy will introduce its high school program.

Ida Cole is founding director of Seattle Theatre Group (STG), originally known as Seattle Landmark Association, which she created with the initial vision of saving a beloved historic theater from demolition, and eventually transformed STG into the largest cultural institution in King County, WA. From the acquisition of the Paramount Theater, to educational outreach at the Moore Theater, to diverse programming for the Neptune Theater, STG has become a model for cultural innovation that other cities now emulate.

Betsy Davis is in her tenth year as executive director of The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) in Seattle, WA, a cultural center that connects the community with the rich maritime history of the region. Under Betsy’s leadership, CWB opened two new campuses, developed a job training program that connects underserved youth with opportunities to work in the maritime industry, and raised nearly $6 million toward building a new Education Center in Lake Union Park to provide hands-on experience refurbishing and sailing classic wooden boats.

Tamara DePorter is vice president of the board for The Chris Elliott Fund (Seattle, WA), an organization that provides access to advanced cancer treatment for brain tumor patients. Tamara is the key driver for identifying the capacity needs of the organization and an ambassador for the agency as a participant in the Mrs. Washington program. Tamara established formal processes and procedures for patient services, set up a technology infrastructure for the organization (web design and hosting, phone systems, email and more), and improved the roles and involvement of the board.

Elizabeth Dunn is a founding member of the Cleveland East region of Guiding Eyes for the Blind (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), where she raises and trains puppies as guide dogs for blind or autistic owners, and also generates publicity for volunteers and funding. Elizabeth has expanded programs to more than 600 families and takes puppies to local area schools to help the animals socialize while teaching children the importance of being a volunteer.

Dave Fester is a board member and volunteer for Worldwide Heart to Heart (WWH2H) (Carson, WA), where he leads fundraising efforts to support the 90 orphans that the organization shelters, feeds, and educates in Honduras. Dave helped build a fully accredited English school furnished with internet-connected computers to provide students with expertise in web design and programming, and created a program to train older children for skilled trade jobs.

Marije Geldof is the country manager for the Malawi branch of D-tree International (Weston, MA), which builds mobile applications that improve healthcare in areas where there are few doctors and health care providers have limited medical training. Marije is committed to making sure the life and death decisions that these providers make are informed and in the patients’ best interests, and aims to unite health organizations through a mobile platform to improve the quality of life in Malawi.

Michael Golden is the CEO and one of four co-founders of Educurious Partners (Seattle, WA), focused on creating a project-based curriculum that connects students to real-world subject matter experts from cancer research scientists to popular authors to film directors.

Njideka Harry is the founder and executive director of Youth for Technology Foundation (Seattle, WA), with programs including TechKids, TechTeens, TechCommunity and TechEnhancement. Starting with one academy at the Owerri Digital Village in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, there are now YTF Academy programs in over 180 schools, drawing 9,860 students from nearly 1600 communities. Njideka founded YTF based on her conviction that when young people are provided with the tools and resources they need, they can achieve great things.  

Laura Jennings is a 12-year board member and part of the finance committee for YWCA Seattle, King, Snohomish (Seattle, WA). Laura was co-chair for Opportunity Place in Seattle, the chapter’s $43.5 million project to provide employment opportunities and health programs to empower women and families. For her dedicated service, Laura has been nominated to the YWCA USA Board of Directors.

Suzi LeVine, co-founder and advisory board chair for the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-Labs) at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA) has been a driving force behind its strategic vision and a $26 million fundraising effort to finance research on brain development. Known for its research with infants and toddlers and its groundbreaking results in understanding how young children learn, I-Labs’ many discoveries may lead to intervention strategies for learning disabilities.  

Adnan Mahmud is co-founder of Jolkona (Seattle, WA), a microfinance organization that inspires young people ages 16 through 25 to fund social change with donations as small as $5. In the four years since Jolkona’s inception, Adnan has distributed nearly $700,000 to more than 100 partners in more than 45 countries. As an Entrepreneurship Envoy for the U.S. State Department, Adnan is also involved in developing a community of social entrepreneurs to engage youth in philanthropic endeavors.

Kimberly Mecham is the lead technical advisor for the Rwanda Girls Initiative (Medina, WA), which provides a rigorous education to young women in a country where only 13 percent attend upper secondary school. Kimberly secured computer software and hardware for the Initiative’s Gashora Girls Academy, which offers STEM classes to a geographically and economically diverse group of high-school aged girls, with a focus on the financially vulnerable, orphans, and survivors of genocide.

Karen Olcott is a board member for Love146 (New Haven, CT), which combats the $32 billion human trafficking industry, largely an “invisible trade” with young and defenseless victims worldwide. Love146 offers prevention education, survivor care, training for social workers and caregivers, and empowerment to raise awareness on a global level. Karen focuses on creating scalable solutions to end human trafficking, including a detailed Policy plan that became a standing initiative for the National Association of Attorneys General in 2011.

Hadi Partovi , founder and CEO of (Seattle, WA), is leading the charge to create a strong, widely implemented computer science curriculum as a way for students to secure stable employment and solve discrepancies in social mobility. Hadi has identified 10,000 schools interested in a 21st Century computer science curriculum and 25,000 software engineers who have volunteered to help create one.

Mary Pembroke is part of the honorary council and past board president of Philanthropy Northwest (Seattle, WA), an organization that provides educational programs, workshops, and in-house consulting services to foundations, corporations and individuals. Mary has served as Pacific Northwest president, member of the honorary council, and co-chair of the Northwest Giving Project, which connects entrepreneurs with philanthropic opportunities.

Will Poole is the Seattle founding director of SVP Fast Pitch Seattle (Seattle, WA), which helps social entrepreneurs succeed through mentoring, capacity building, and life-changing connections. He founded the program by leveraging the concept from its nonprofit origins in Los Angeles and adding two new innovations: a youth track and a “for-profit” track, and has engaged with more than 50 partner organizations and more than 150 volunteers in the program’s first two years.

Matthew Storer, president and CEO of VisionTrust International (Colorado Springs, CO), works with victims of human trafficking or child labor, youth orphaned because of AIDS, and infants most likely to die before the age of 5 due to preventable malaria, diarrhea or malnutrition. During Matt’s time as president, VisionTrust has grown to serve nearly 14,000 children in 16 countries.

Sheetal Walsh, whose family fled Uganda as refugees in 1972, is the founder of Shanti Life (San Francisco, CA), which provides resources to entrepreneurs in Indian slums and villages, including access to capital, training and financial literacy. Realizing that disease caused from poor sanitation in India often prevents people from focusing on their livelihood, Sheetal’s organization works with women farmers to build eco-sanitation toilets and washing facilities in their homes, and provides the necessary resources and project management skills to help them financially support their families.

About the Foundation 

Since its inception in 2007, the Microsoft Alumni Foundation works to serve, strengthen, and support its fellow alumni and their nonprofit organizations globally. The Foundation is a 501(c) (3) public nonprofit organization with its headquarters based in Bellevue, WA. Board members are Jeffrey Raikes (chair); Charles Hirsch (vice president); Akhtar Badshah (vice president); Craig Bruya (treasurer); Sharon Maghie (secretary), Tony Audino, Carla Lewis, Paul Shoemaker, Brad Smith and Dawn Trudeau. The executive director is Marylou Brannan.


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