Last week, Microsoft announced a new global initiative called YouthSpark, which seeks to improve conditions for more than 300 million young people in more than 100 countries over the next three years.
As part of the new initiative, Microsoft will be launching the YouthSpark Hub, a comprehensive, online access point for youth services, resources and programs that are provided by the nonprofit partners of the initiative. Additionally, Microsoft announced that it would be launching a new, micro-giving marketplace -- Give for Youth -- which allows users to donate to global youth causes, as well as a new online service called Microsoft Innovate for Good, which seeks to connect youth so that may use technological resources to improve conditions in their communities.
Global partners for the initiative include GlobalGiving Foundation, TakingITGlobal, Silatech and the Trust for Americas. Recently, Microsoft also announced that it would be supporting five new nonprofits in the United States; the Boys & Girls Club of America, City Year, Junior Achievement USA, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Year Up.
According the International Youth Foundation, approximately 75 million young people across the globe were unemployed last year, while the latest statistics from the International Labor Organization predict youth unemployment will swell to 12.9 percent over then next five years.
At a conference launching YouthSpark, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Balmer said the new initiative is designed to help youth across the globe though education, employment and entrepreneurship.
“We believe that working with our partners, we can help empower young people to change their world, and we are committed to using our technology, talent, time and resources to do that.”