Microsoft millions go to tech centers

Microsoft Corp. will make a donation worth $100 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help more than 3.3 million underserved kids use technology.

The gift is part of the software giant's ongoing effort to bridge the digital divide.

"If we're going to give all our kids an equal chance to compete in the educational and work environment, this is important," said Ed Mishrell, vice president of program services with Boys and Girls Clubs.

The Boys and Girls Clubs will use the $88 million in software and $12.3 million in cash over the next five years to fund technology centers being created at 2,600 local sites. The Club Tech initiative will outfit the centers with software such as multimedia encyclopedias and office applications.

Club Tech also will provide training for local staff members. Courses and activities will include online tutoring, job search and money management skills, virtual museum tours, Web-based collaborative writing programs, and poetry, art and video competitions.

The Boys and Girls Clubs is receiving state, federal and other money for hardware and to renovate the computer learning centers.

Under the Kids 2000 legislation signed by President Clinton in October, the Boys and Girls Clubs will receive $120 million over the next six years for personnel, training and infrastructure upgrades at the technology centers.

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