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Microsoft in your community

Northern Virginia community investments

Microsoft invests in local programs that benefit people of all ages. In Northern Virginia, our collaborations are organized by our focus areas of Skills for Jobs, Enabling Sustainability, and Empowering Communities.

The following program list contains a sample of the investments Microsoft makes on an annual basis.

Skills for jobs 

Microsoft believes everyone should have access to the skills, technology, and opportunity they need to succeed in a changing economy.

 
Loudoun Freedom Center is dedicated to helping the next generation of young adults and families gain a renewed sense of meaning and pursuit of God and good in the world. To empower the next generation of African American, Underrepresented, and Women IT Professionals through hands-on training, IT industry certifications, and workplace readiness development. It seeks to create a pipeline of certified IT personnel to enter and compete in every segment of the information technology field.

  • gener8tor Skills Accelerator supports learners in obtaining high-quality employment in diverse, professional workplaces where the skills they gain from the accelerator can be applied. In alignment with Microsoft, gener8tor Skills focuses on building technical skills to help under- and unemployed individuals who fall under the category of hidden talent such as people of color, women, veterans, and others. The accelerator helps them secure meaningful employment across a variety of sectors (such as technology, insurance, finance, and professional services) in professional, technical, and administrative services roles. The accelerator increases access to technology and supports local employers in their hiring needs as well as their ability to adapt to digital transformation as learners are prepared for digitally-enabled jobs at these companies.
  • Datacenter Academy Scholarship program provides financial support for those students who come from underrepresented backgrounds, by removing barriers and promoting a diverse workforce. Datacenter Academy Scholarships help pay for the cost of tuition, fees, and certifications for historically underrepresented students enrolled in IT/STEM, promoting the acquisition of skills and certifications for 21st-century employment in a world increasingly reliant on cloud computing big data.

 
Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation, through its Information and Engineering Technologies (IET) division, equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the rapidly growing and high demand fields of IT and engineering technology.

  • NOVA IET Fund expanded the Data Center Operations (DCO) program at Northern Virginia Community College, which offers classes at the Loudoun and Manassas campuses, to the Woodbridge campus.

 
The Loudoun Education Foundation is empowering all students to make meaningful contributions to the world.

  • Loudoun STEM kits are being provided to Loudoun County Public Schools middle school students enrolled in the Computer Science Foundations course, with 15 Arduino Student Kits per each of the 17 middle schools. The Arduino Student Kit is divided into nine step-by-step lessons and two open-ended group projects. The kit contains boards, a collection of sensors and actuators, access to an online platform, with extra content including invention spotlights, concepts, and interesting facts about electronics, technology, and programming. The kit can be used by anyone who wants to learn the basics of Arduino electronics and programming and requires no prior knowledge or skills. The teachers are upskilled by several in-person training sessions throughout the year to ensure that this equipment is used with fidelity and connects to the curriculum.

Enabling sustainability 

Climate change requires swift, collective action and technological innovation. We are committed to meeting our own goals while helping communities to do the same.
 

Scenic Rivers Land Trust is dedicated to protecting forests, wetlands, farmlands, and other open spaces in Anne Arundel County. We work with landowners and other partners to conserve natural and scenic areas through landowner education and by holding and facilitating land protection agreements.

  • Bacon Ridge Natural Area Habitat Restoration includes increasing efforts to provide habitat restoration resources—primarily in the form of invasive species control—to landowners of the Trust’s easements. The first project site, 630-acre Bacon Ridge Natural Area easement in Crownsville, owned by Anne Arundel County and managed by the Department of Recreation & Parks (AACDRP), was chosen due to the existence of 12+ miles of publicly accessible trails. Many invasive plant species “travel” down trail systems, hitchhiking on shoes, clothes, equipment, and dog fur. To be successful, this is a multi-year project. It combines manual control by volunteers with targeted herbicide application to remove seven invasive species along miles of trail. This project promotes community engagement in environmental stewardship through volunteer workdays held mid-April through mid-June, and also in the fall. Working in agreement with the County, Scenic Rivers will hire a licensed herbicide application company to use the least toxic herbicide possible in areas where volunteers are not effective.

 
Society for Ecological Restoration inspires, motivates, and engages people to protect, preserve, and restore wildlife habitat.

  • JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary Restoration is restoring, preserving, and enhancing the ecological value of the sanctuary, which includes regionally important forests and globally rare wetlands. Purchased in 2020 by Loudon Wildlife Conservancy (LWC), the property’s forests and meadows have become overgrown with invasive species and are subject to significant deer pressure, which has resulted in a degraded ecosystem. Society for Ecological Restoration is working with LWC to restore and enhance the existing habitat and biodiversity. This project is a pilot that can be scaled up to have a greater impact in future years. It includes significant engagement with the local community, including volunteer opportunities to participate in restoration and monitoring activities.
  • Lake Accotink Park Restoration and Education—Plant NOVA Trees is a focused drive by the Plant NOVA Natives campaign to increase the native tree canopy in Northern Virginia. Society of Ecological Restoration worked with Plant NOVA Trees to plant native species of shrubs and trees to help the ecosystem, and importantly, to remove invasive species at Lake Accotink Park in Springfield, Virginia. The invasives removal was led by the current volunteer site leader and the tree planting led by Fairfax ReLeaf, using site-appropriate native trees. Native seeds were also scattered on all disturbed earth. This event kicked off a habitat restoration project to control the invasive plants in surrounding areas of the park. Educational signs will educate the community about natives versus invasives, and volunteers will monitor and water new plantings.

Empowering communities 

Microsoft is committed to strengthening communities and empowering the organizations that help them thrive. Whether affected by a recent emergency or decades of challenges, we use data, technology, and strategic investments to restore and support them for future generations.
 

Loudoun Hunger Relief serves neighbors in need with nutritious food, education, and community partnerships. Ultimately, the goal of LHR is to provide support and assistance so that families can live in the community without a need for these services.

  • Loudoun Hunger Relief Food Pantry provides food and personal hygiene items for residents of Loudoun County who are struggling with food insecurity. Since March 2020, the beginning of the pandemic shutdowns, and throughout the economic fallout that has ensued, LHR has served an average of 640 families per week, up from 250 per week pre-COVID.

 
ChangeX International helps to create thriving communities everywhere by democratizing change, ensuring proven innovations and finance are accessible to everyone, everywhere. ChangeX is a community engagement platform that, with Microsoft’s support, has funded more than 500 groups in communities across Europe and the United States since 2015. Funds are repeated often throughout the years.

  • ChangeX Blue Ridge is a community fund program across the Blue Ridge area in Virginia. These programs are locally developed and delivered by citizens in cities around Loudoun County.

 
Tech Impact works to change lives, organizations, and the world.

  • Digital Transformation Initiative – Cohort (Blue Ridge) provides education to each cohort to provide benefits of the Microsoft Cloud in relation to the organizations’ productivity and security goals and align digital transformation to the mission and impact goals of each organization. The education can be delivered through in-person workshops or online webinars and followed up with on-demand session recordings. Select cohort participants have the opportunity to participate in TechCheck consultations with Tech Impact. The TechCheck will assess the organization’s current technology, security, and governance and produce recommendations to close any gaps that the assessment exposes. Recommendations will include projects with associated budget.

 
The Loudoun Education Foundation is empowering all students to make meaningful contributions to the world.

  • African American Living History Tour & Innovation in Education provides African American students with in-person visits to historical sites in Northern Virginia. These visits align with Virginia Standards of Learning assessments for grades 4, 6, and 7, and high school African American curriculum. The Innovation in Education grant includes micro-grants for teachers to support extra supplies for classrooms that are not covered by other funds.