Phoenix community investments
Microsoft invests in local programs that benefit people of all ages. In Phoenix, 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.
Dysart Community Center serves to address the challenges faced by disadvantaged residents. Its mission has been to empower families with the tools and skills necessary to improve their lives and build self-sufficiency—creating stronger prospects for success in school, work, and life.
- Increased Access to Technology for Youths provides access to technology for 200 underprivileged youths age 8 to 18 who lack internet connectivity, computers, and the ability to utilize programs to help with their education and daily life. The project takes place after school in three community settings. Students are assisted by staff and volunteers in the use and application of technology for their schoolwork, language and reading skills, access to further education, and job seeking skills.
- 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 Datacenter Community Development, 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.
- Dysart Wireless Local Area Network provides homework support to children who do not have the internet at home. This project will build out a wireless local area network throughout the Dysart Community Center’s facility, providing access to internet resources for educational classes, job searches, and community resources. Dysart provides before and after school education to underprivileged West Valley families.
- DCC Kids Club provides homework support to children who do not have the internet at home, whose family members do not speak or understand English, and to families who work many jobs and do not have time, support, or energy to help with childcare or schoolwork. The City of Surprise site offers inter-generational programming to help encourage good citizenship and socialization.
Acclaim Charter School is a team committed to excellence. ACCLAIM Academy is a charter school with over 90% of its student body being from low-income families. In a safe learning community rich in the arts, sciences, and languages, they are dedicated to developing nobility of character, cultivating academic success, honoring diversity, and promoting physical and environmental responsibility.
- Acclaim Academy Computer Fund Club established a computer club to provide students with a platform where they can gain fundamental knowledge about computer applications, learn typing skills, obtain technological knowhow, and build confidence. This student enrichment program will help develop and support a generation of scholars who are interested in STEAM/IT careers.
Fresh Start Women’s Foundation provides access and resources that help women achieve self-sufficiency and use their strength to thrive. Its vision is a future of unlimited opportunities for women. During its 31-year history, the Foundation has served tens of thousands of women, supporting them as they transform their lives and, in turn, transform the lives of their children, families, and the broader community.
- Career Services for West Valley Women helps women pave personalized pathways to self-sufficiency by focusing on five key areas of their lives: family stability, health and well-being, financial management, education and training, and careers. It offers a variety of services under each of these pillars, and women can partner with a trained social worker to receive one-on-one guidance and coaching on their journeys to self-sufficiency.
Maricopa County Community College District Foundation boldly impacts its communities through innovative and strategic partnerships for the growth and benefit of the Maricopa Community Colleges, their students, faculty, and staff. Everyone has the opportunity to improve their lives through education.
- 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.
- Donation to augment equipment at the Estrella MTN DCA Lab provided funding to Estrella Mountain Community College to purchase essential equipment to finish the student lab.
Boys & Girls Club of the Valley (BGCAZ) empowers young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible members of the community. BGCAZ provides evidence-based, out-of-school-time youth development programs for youth ages 5–18, providing Arizona youth with a safe, positive place to learn and grow. Now the largest youth services provider in Arizona, it currently serves more than 20,000 members and their families at 30 locations throughout the greater Phoenix metro area.
- Boys & Girls Club Academic Success West Valley Programs offers safe, affordable after-school and summer programs for youth. BGCAZ’s Academic Success STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programming provides youth with additional knowledge and education in science, robotics, and technology, which improves their understanding of these subjects and ultimately increases their grades. Through participation in many of the STEM activities, students become excited about learning and often improve in other subjects.
- Academic Success Program invested in purchasing educational supplies, tutoring services, homework help, as well as STEM and other educational programming to improve youths’ academic skills.
Tech Impact is a nonprofit leveraging technology to advance social impact. During its 20-year partnership with Microsoft Philanthropies, it has delivered a multitude of services to help tens of thousands of nonprofits get on board with the Microsoft Cloud.
- Digital Transformation Initiative – Cohort Phoenix will provide 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 is delivered through in-person workshops or online webinars and followed up with on-demand session recordings.
Warriors Code embraces those who have been through tough times and engaged in self-harm to holistically rebuild, restore, and empower them to live their best lives and to control their own destinies. Key goals: recovery, self-management, stable employment, stable housing, family reunification, cultural awareness.
- InDigital Directions bridges the gap of access to technology and mental health in indigenous communities. With its mix of technology assets, it provides training to individuals across Arizona in the areas of behavioral health, general health and wellness, pre-employment services, and cultural connection.
Climate change requires swift, collective action and technological innovation. We are committed to meeting our own goals while helping communities to do the same.
American Forests creates healthy and resilient forests, from cities to large natural landscapes, that deliver essential benefits for climate, people, water, and wildlife. It advances its mission through forestry innovation, place-based partnerships to plant and restore forests, and movement building. American Forests envisions a world in which the significant environmental, societal, and economic benefits of forests are fully realized and equitably available to all people.
- Tree Equity and Shade for Students – Grant 2 continues Microsoft’s support of creating shade around parks, streets, and schools, lowering temperatures in the long term and addressing localized tree equity issues in El Mirage. AZSA will plant within the Dysart School District, El Mirage park, or street. This project builds from previous work and core relationships with the Dysart School District, City, and the Mayor of El Mirage, Alexis Hermosillo, to support tree planting in school communities.
- Tree Equity and Shade for Students in Phoenix as part of American Forests, and with the City of Phoenix and the Arizona Sustainability Alliance, is co-leading a coalition of partners to address extreme heat by advancing tree equity throughout Maricopa County, home to Phoenix. In April 2021, Phoenix was the first city to officially commit to creating tree equity by 2030. One of the nation’s hottest cities, Phoenix broke the record for most recorded high-heat days, with more than 143 days above 100 degrees in 2020. Such high temperatures are dangerous to everyone. But the negative impact is not felt equally. Neighborhoods without enough trees—which are frequently low-income or communities of color—face a particular threat from high heat.
Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) advances the science, practice, and policy of ecological restoration to sustain biodiversity, enhance resilience in a changing climate, and re-establish an ecologically healthy relationship between culture and nature. SER’s goals include building the knowledge base needed to implement effective ecological restoration, supporting on-the-ground (and in the water) standards-based ecological restoration implementation, and ensuring ecological restoration delivers beneficial outcomes for both nature and people, including addressing the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.
- Pollinator Garden Restoration includes habitat restoration of a 2.25-acre exhibit for migrating and local pollinators at Audubon Southwest’s Arizona headquarters in Central Phoenix along the Salt River. The Salt River and the Phoenix Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area utilizes urban runoff and groundwater to restore a five-mile stretch of riverbed completed in 2005. Typified by a Sonoran Desert riparian zone comprising low flows within the riverbed, this effectively engineered natural waterway is managed for agriculture, the robust urbanization of Metropolitan Phoenix, as well as water conservation given impacts from climate change.
Trees Matter inspires and promotes an increased tree canopy in the Phoenix Metro Area Valley. Its key goals are to distribute trees to increase tree canopy, educate about and plant trees in schools, promote knowledge and information regarding trees and food, and advocate for tree equity and access to trees in underserved areas.
- Urban Food Forest & Employment Program incorporates two programs to create a more comprehensive project that will merge student and neighborhood/community engagement with the local food forest. The Cartwright School District is located in West Phoenix and serves many diverse community members with some of the largest refugee populations in the city. This project serves primarily Title I schools (schools on free and reduced lunch) and the surrounding neighborhoods. Working with Cartwright, it utilizes the district’s STEM and food service personnel to build activities around food-bearing trees on their campus and in their neighborhood. Tree identification, harvesting, and processing resources and classes are also offered to the surrounding community, encouraging people to learn about access to food growing all around them.
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.
Homeless Youth Connection (HYC) eliminates barriers to education so that youth experiencing homelessness can graduate and create lasting solutions for a successful future. HYC partners with more than 130 high schools and colleges in Maricopa County and Flagstaff to serve more than 700 youth experiencing homelessness annually. Program success is measured by the number of youth who complete the school year, increase independent living skills, establish a plan for after high school, and have a healthy support network in their life.
- Empowering Youth For The Future funding provides software for laptops that will be distributed to youths in the program in need of educational support.
Goodyear Pebblecreek Rotary Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in Arizona that makes donations to charitable community programs, provides high school and vocational scholarships, supports youth leadership programs, helps low-income families and their children, supports literacy programs, and participates in international programs such as polio eradication, micro-credit grants, and grants helping the Navajo Nation.
- Dolly Parton Imagination Library allows low-income children to develop at-home libraries. In addition, the Goodyear PebbleCreek Rotary Foundation partnered with the Estrella Mountain Community College Teachers Institute and the Avondale Elementary School District to implement a complementary initiative called Family Literacy Nights, a reading program for parents and caregivers of children ages three and four. This supplementary programming fostered early childhood literacy and a love of reading by engaging participating families in strategies and events that promote positive literacy experiences.
Friends of the Avondale Libraries (doing business as Avondale CARES) makes Avondale better through funding programming for underserved communities in Avondale and giving children opportunities they do not otherwise have access to.
- Avondale Library Makerspace project will purchase furniture and equipment to make the Makerspace a usable room. Once the room is complete, the Avondale Library staff have a robust plan to activate the room including programs such as Coding for Kids, robotics, science experiments, classroom STEM activities for visiting schools, Library for All (STEM for adults with disabilities), and workforce computer classes (such as Excel, Word, Job Searching, Resumes). The library staff has strong partnerships with local schools and is working to form partnerships with local businesses for volunteer and mentorship opportunities as well.
A New Leaf advances its mission of “Helping Families… Changing Lives” by providing meaningful opportunities to empower disadvantaged individuals and families, and to create a stronger and healthier community. A New Leaf’s 30+ programs in the Phoenix Metro area address households’ immediate and longer-term needs through a continuum of care that promotes social and economic health and stability. Services include emergency shelter, supportive housing, domestic and sexual violence support, financial empowerment, behavioral and primary health care, foster care, early childhood education, and family preservation. “Changing Lives” by providing meaningful opportunities to empower disadvantaged individuals and families, and to create a stronger and healthier community. A New Leaf’s 30+ programs in the Phoenix Metro area address households’ immediate and longer-term needs through a continuum of care that promotes social and economic health and stability. Services include emergency shelter, supportive housing, domestic and sexual violence support, financial empowerment, behavioral and primary health care, foster care, early childhood education, and family preservation.
- Technology for Homeless is an investment in laptops and systems for skills assessments, work readiness classes, career training in high demand industries, technology skill building, and 1:1 job coaching and career searching, offered to those in emergency family shelter and housing support services.
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 Phoenix Community Challenge allows Microsoft to engage with diverse and hard-to-reach groups, ensuring community funds are widely accessible, particularly for lower-income and communities of color, through a simple, easy-to-use platform. Beneficiaries decide whether they want to start any of the portfolio ideas, and if so, which one, based on the needs of their community. They are also in a position to adapt the implementation of the idea to suit their local context.
Shining Light Foundation brings resources to marginalized communities through education, awareness, and community events.
- Black History Month Mural Project invested funds to paint 28 murals representing the 28 days in Black History Month, in collaboration with school students who wrote book reports on the 84 figures. The reports were attached to the murals using a QR code. This allowed individuals to acquire information about the figures featured in the murals.