Sunset ImageEarlier this week a series of media articles were published around the world (then linked to and repeated in blogs) that made claims about Microsoft and other major corporations funding the Heartland Institute – a US not-for-profit think tank that claims its mission as: “…to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.”

Each of the articles claimed that the Heartland Institute was supporting/advocating/promoting the views of people who do agree with the proposition that changes in the globe’s climate can be proven to be caused by the actions of humans.

The media articles, including this one, claimed that Microsoft was giving money to the Heartland Institute and, by association, promoting the views of the Institute.

Several of the articles went as far as to claim that Microsoft and others were planning to develop an “anti-global warming curriculum” for elementary school children that present climate science as “a major scientific controversy”.

These claims and all claims about Microsoft’s financial contribution to the Heartland Institute are wrong.

Microsoft’s Senior Director Citizenship and Public Affairs, Akhtar Badshah, has today published a blog post to correct the stories and set out the facts.

Simply stated, Microsoft has an open and generous software donation program for not-for-profit organisations. In Australia last year through this program more than 2,500 organisations were given software. The value of the software exceeded $44 million. That is a huge saving for Australian not-for-profits. It allows them to spend their scarce and precious resources doing what they do best; creating our communities and helping those who really need help.

This year this software donation program has been expanded to include sporting organisations. With great technology and a connected community it is possible the productivity and generosity of Australia’s not-for-profits will increase even further.

Microsoft does have some broad criteria for our software donation program. We do not include religious organisations or political organisations in the program. To ensure the program does however cover as many community organisations as
possible and provide the greatest benefit possible at the lowest cost possible, we do not vet the beliefs of the members of the organisations, we don’t do background checks on office holders and we don’t sit in judgment about the value of the work of the organisation.

Microsoft Australia is proud of the contribution we have made through this program to supporting not-for-profit activities in Australia and around the world. Our civil society is one of the great strengths of our democracy. The people who run the organisations that form the fabric of that society deserve our support and Microsoft is pleased to be in a position to give it.

For anyone looking for more information about Microsoft’s Software Donation program or seeking software for a not-for-profit in Australia click here.

FOR THE RECORD… Microsoft believes climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention and we are acting accordingly. We are pursuing strategies and taking actions that are consistent with a strong commitment to reducing our own impact as well as the impact of our products.  In addition, Microsoft has adopted a broad policy statement on climate change that expresses support for government action to create market-based mechanisms to address climate change.”