Microsoft Alumni Foundation Announces Five Finalists for 2013 Integral Fellows Awards

Former Microsoft employees recognized for extraordinary leadership in philanthropy
Oct 1, 2013 10:00 AM ET

BELLEVUE, Wash., October 1, 2013 /3BL Media/ — The Microsoft Alumni Foundation today announced five finalists for its fifth annual Integral Fellows Awards, a program created in 2009 to recognize and reward the exemplary nonprofit work of former Microsoft employees. The finalists were selected from a group of 21 nominees and will now be reviewed by a panel of distinguished judges, who will select up to three winners. The 2013 Integral Fellows Awards winners will be recognized on November 1 at the Foundation’s annual celebration, Reunion with a Purpose, and will receive an unrestricted $25,000 grant for their nonprofit organization, as well as support from their fellow alumni to help continue in their efforts to build resources and scale solutions for their initiatives. Each year, nominees are submitted by their alumni peers and nonprofit organizations where they serve as founders, officers, and active volunteers. All of the nominees have dedicated their post-Microsoft careers to addressing challenges facing communities locally and around the world.

“In my fourth year as co-chair of the Integral Fellows committee, I am privileged to see the philanthropic work that Microsoft alumni continue to do,” said Steve Wells. “Each year I am increasingly inspired by the innovation, effort and energy that all of these former Microsoft employees bring to the philanthropic community. Our Integral Fellows finalists truly epitomize the best of how individuals can make a difference in the lives of others, whether locally, nationally or globally.”

The finalists

Erin Brewer is co-founder and President of the board of Academy for Precision Learning (Seattle, Wash.), a K-12 school where students, including those across the autism spectrum, learn in an inclusive, supportive and socially vibrant environment. Since 2007, attendance in the K-9 program has grown from four to 75 students, and in September 2013, the Academy introduced its high school program. Erin’s daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Their family encountered a supportive, caring network of professionals who helped her daughter develop and return a sense of joy and hope to her family, and she aims to bring the same level of support and hope to other families. Erin worked in marketing and communications at Microsoft.

Ida Cole is Founding Director of Seattle Theatre Group (Seattle, Wash.), originally known as Seattle Landmark Association. She created STG with the initial vision of saving a beloved historic theater from demolition, and eventually transformed it into the largest cultural institution in King County. 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. Ida believes in the common humanity we can discover through art is a cause worth saving—a cause that can unite communities and inspire every age and ethnic group. Ida served as Director of International Products and Marketing and Vice President of Applications while at Microsoft.

Karen Olcott is a board member for Love146 (New Haven, Conn.), 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. Karen has a pedigree steeped in philanthropy, with family members who worked with the Rockefellers and others who are working to eradicate infections disease in Africa. It is clear she is uniquely qualified to be a leader in working to end one of the most egregious blights on mankind—a modern day version of slavery. Karen was Director for Strategic Partnerships and Business Development, Online Services division while at Microsoft.

Hadi Partovi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of (Seattle, Wash.), 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. Hadi’s father was a co-founder of Iran’s primary technology university, and Hadi received his first computer at the age of 10. He started coding immediately thereafter, since his father said “learn to write your own,” instead of buying his son software or games. Now Hadi seeks to have all American students have the opportunity to write their own. Hadi was a General Manager while at Microsoft.

Will Poole is the Seattle Founding Director of SVP Fast Pitch Seattle (Seattle, Wash.), 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. Will’s time at Microsoft taught him that by applying management techniques honed at the company, amazing things can happen. Guiding dozens of partner organizations and hundreds of volunteers has created just such an amazing thing—Fast Pitch Seattle—that is helping to launch many new ideas for social good. Will was Corporate Vice President, Unlimited Potential group at Microsoft.

The judges

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, Brad Smith and Dawn Trudeau. The Executive Director is Marylou Brannan.

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