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Akhtar Badshah
Dr. Badshah led Microsoft global philanthropic efforts for the last ten years where he administered the company’s global community investment and employee programs that included: monetary grants, software and curriculum donations, technology solutions, and employee volunteer hours, supporting programs and organizations that address the needs of communities worldwide. Badshah oversaw investments of around $5 billion in cash, services and software to nonprofits around the world through localized, company-sponsored giving and volunteer campaigns during his time at Microsoft.

Badshah managed the philanthropic elements of Microsoft’s YouthSpark, a global initiative launched in 2012 that is designed to help youth into opportunities through training, employment and starting their own ventures. YouthSpark has reached 180M youth and supported over 100 nonprofits in 100+ countries in the last two years.

In 2003/2004 Badshah launched and managed the Unlimited Potential grants program where he established over 70,000 Community Technology Learning Centers in 100+ countries impacting over 200 million people in underserved communities by providing accesses to information technology and training.

In addition to the grants program, Badshah also managed the ‘Technology for Good’ program which included supporting the technology needs for nonprofits. Over the last 10 years, hundreds of thousands of nonprofits have benefited from this technology support. Just last year with the launch of O365 for nonprofits, over 11K nonprofits have downloaded O365 with over $1 Million seats deployed. Under his guidance and direction the Employee Engagement program crossed over $1 Billion in amount contributed.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Dr. Badshah was the CEO and president of Digital Partners Foundation, a Seattle-area nonprofit organization whose mission is to utilize the digital economy to benefit the poor. At Digital Partners, he established the organization’s core programs in India, Africa and Latin America. His work included development of the Digital Partners Social Venture Fund, designed to support the expansion of IT-based anti-poverty efforts around the world, and the Digital Partners Social Enterprise Laboratory (SEL), an initiative that provide mentorship and seed money to entrepreneurs whose vision and business models use ICT to empower the poor and their underserved communities.

Dr. Badshah is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Council on Foundations, he is the Chairman of the Foundation, and also serves on the Advisory Board of the US Chamber’s Corporate Citizenship Center. He has served on the Boards of the United Way King County and Youth Empowerment and Sustainability.

He authored “Our Urban Future: New Paradigms for Equity and Sustainability,” co-authored Technology at the Margins – How IT Meets the Need of Emerging Markets and co-edited “Connected for Development – Information Kiosks for Sustainability.” He has also published numerous articles in international journals on CSR, ICT4D, megacities and sustainability, housing, and urban development. Dr. Badshah has also lectured at numerous universities around the world on issues of Technology and Development, Social Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Dr. Badshah is a doctoral graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and his family are very active in the Seattle area community.

Entries by Akhtar Badshah

Inspiring 50,000 Indonesian Youth to Become Creators of the Economy

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 11:01 AM

On March 18, I had the honor of joining President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the First Lady of Indonesia, along with Bapak DR Syarifuddin Hasan Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprise, the governor of Jakarta, Bapak Joko Widodo, and other distinguished guests speak at the National Youth...

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New Mobile App Helps You Get and Give Help During a Natural Disaster

(1) Comments | Posted January 17, 2013 | 2:41 PM

During a large scale natural disaster there is always a challenge facing people who want to quickly and easily contact the people they care about. Today people reach out via multiple communication channels to share their status and make sure that they know the status of their loved ones --...

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Drinking From the Fire Hose -- Reflections on the Social Innovation Summit 12

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2012 | 4:19 PM

A party among some close friends and colleagues on a beautiful sunny day in New York is always fun, especially if you’re on the 87th floor with some breathtaking views and surrounded by original art from Picasso, Chagall, Miro and Liechtenstein. This is what Zeev Klein and his colleagues from...

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The Spring of Hope: Restoring the Dignity

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2012 | 10:47 AM

I am in Tunis -- this is where the Arab Spring got launched in December 2010. I have had the privilege of being in the Arab world for the last two weeks meeting and having discussions with youth and young entrepreneurs about how they perceive their future. The Arab Spring...

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Finding Your Voice: The Aftermath of the Butterfly Revolution

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 4:01 PM

The aftermath of any revolution is quite messy and life never turns out as expected. On my second night of a recent visit to Cairo I had dinner with some colleagues and friends and as expected the conversation eventually turned to the revolution and upcoming presidential election.

At the...

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The Butterfly Effect -- Everyone Was a Hero in Cairo

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2012 | 3:57 PM

I landed in Cairo earlier today expecting to see significant changes. In many ways everything has changed, yet on the drive from the airport to the hotel in Zamalek across the Nile, Cairo still appeared the same. The wonderful energy, the crazy traffic with cars moving in a slow dance...

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From Seattle to Singapore: How Microsoft Is Taking Lessons From Young People

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2012 | 5:39 PM

There are 1.2 billion young people on our planet today -- more than ever before and the numbers continue to grow with projections of 1.5 billion young people by 2035. Many of them are doing amazing things. They are innovating, they are inspiring and they are driving real impact.

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Meeting The New Social Entrepreneurs

(0) Comments | Posted February 8, 2012 | 8:01 AM

During the World Economic Forum, I had the pleasure of spending time with Dominik Tomičević from Croatia; Jason Wakizaka from the United States; Francisco Perez from Ecuador; and Mohammad Lu'ay Alazzam from Jordan. All four were in Davos for two primary reasons, firstly to participate in a roundtable Microsoft hosted...

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Social Innovation in China

(0) Comments | Posted December 27, 2011 | 9:57 PM

On my recent trip to China I visited the Non Profit Incubator (NPI), which is a nonprofit that promotes social innovation and cultivates social entrepreneurs in China by providing crucial support to start-up and small- to medium-sized grassroots NGOs and social enterprises. I was very impressed that in...

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Do Volunteer Efforts During Humanitarian Crises Help?

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2011 | 9:52 AM

I am in Bangkok and have been very impressed with the work our local team is doing in delivering needed supplies to people that are still living in water and who have not received any help and many of them are in this situation for two months.

During a...

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Global Development as a Vital Export: Changing Lives, Creating Opportunity

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2011 | 10:25 AM

11/1/11 is a special day in Washington state.

The state exports more goods and resources internationally than any other state in the nation. One in every three jobs in our state is, in some way, tied to foreign trade. The state exports nearly $40 billion worth of goods and services...

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Reflecting on Eight Years of Community Investment Worldwide

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2011 | 3:36 PM

As Microsoft approaches the eighth anniversary of its Community Technology Skills Program (CTSP), I have been taking some time to reflect on the opportunities imagined and realized, the amazing things we've learned about running a global community investment program, and how all of that will guide our work...

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So You Say You Want to Be a Social Entrepreneur?

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2011 | 12:23 PM

Monday evening, while millions of Americans tuned in to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football, I watched a slightly different kind of competition that showcased the potential to touch the lives of millions in a way much more impactful than a touchdown.

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Clinton Global Initiative -- Making Change Happen

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2011 | 9:52 PM

Last week at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City was at once a most exhilarating and tiring week. President Clinton continues to bring his star power, his deep concern around global development, and his expertise to energize all of us to do more. After a week...

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Technology Education and Literacy in Schools Program (TEALS) Grows by Leaps and Bounds

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2011 | 6:45 PM

Let's say you are a recent college graduate with a computer science degree, and you are passionate about education. Would you follow your passion by choosing a job in the classroom if you knew your starting salary would be approximately half the salary of a job in the technology industry?

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Increasing Transparency to Galvanize Impact

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2011 | 6:33 PM

Throughout my tenure at Microsoft, our approach to our social and philanthropic work has reflected our approach to business being grounded in strong partnerships. If you want to have to work with communities and have sustainable positive economic impact you must develop strong local partnerships. Partners can vary in size...

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Expanding Microsoft Software Donations to More Nonprofits

(0) Comments | Posted July 27, 2011 | 10:17 AM

Today we are making a number of updates to our global software donations program designed to give more nonprofit organizations access to the technology they need, when they need it. We're currently reaching more than 40,000 organizations around the world each year -- translating into over $3.9 billion of donated...

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How We Can Help Students' Social Innovation Have Real World Impact

(1) Comments | Posted July 15, 2011 | 1:38 AM

Wednesday in New York student teams from over 70 countries celebrated the winners of the 2011 Imagine Cup - a competition that challenges students to use technology to solve the world's toughest problems. This is the ninth year of the Imagine Cup and the innovation, ingenuity and creativity of these...

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The Youth Are Leading Change in Brazil

(2) Comments | Posted July 7, 2011 | 8:05 PM

Last week I arrived in Sao Paulo for the first time in three years to find an amazing sense of optimism. President Lula’s government managed to lift a quarter of the country’s poor people out of poverty and the current government is expanding that program to reach the most vulnerable....

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Ideas: Unleashing Creativity through Competitions

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2011 | 1:47 PM

On May 2 as part of MIT's 150 year anniversary celebrations I will be speaking to students who have entered the MIT IDEAS Competition and Global Challenge -- which support innovation and entrepreneurship as a public service. This year more than 80 teams have entered ideas that address...

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