Microsoft is helping the Special Olympics to modernize their software and games management system.
Microsoft will also help the nonprofit raise their system to the cloud. The Azure-based games management system will enable instant access to real-time updates and athlete information.
Microsoft will also provide 800 Surface tablets and 1,200 Lumia phones, which will be used to track all events at the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles, while connecting volunteers across multiple venues.
Additionally Microsoft will sponsor the summer 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles and the winter 2017 World Games in Austria.
“Our company is about reinventing productivity, to allow people to achieve more,” says Jeff Hansen, general manager of Microsoft Brand Studio, about the partnership. “If you think about the Special Olympics and their mission to celebrate the achievements of people with intellectual disabilities, you understand that we couldn’t be more aligned.”
According to Hansel, the nonprofit was looking at cloud as a means to control costs.
Microsoft will contribute both technology and financial support to the organization. The company has committed to raising additional funds for the nonprofit, pledging $1 million over the life of the partnership in the spirit of Microsoft’s company-wide Giving Campaign.
“Our partnership with Microsoft is going to allow us to leap frog into the next universe and be able to execute on our mission in a much more powerful way,” said Special Olympics chief executive officer Janet Froetscher.
“We are excited and eager to raise money for their organization and their cause,” Hansen says. “At the heart of it, it’s about more than the games; it’s about raising awareness for the acceptance and inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities.”
To announce the partnership, Microsoft held a soccer match on its Redmond campus between mixed teams including Special Olympics Play Unified athletes from Roosevelt High School and Microsoft employees, with Seattle Sounders FC legends Roger Levesque, Kasey Keller, Taylor Graham and Michael Morris appearing as coaches.