Microsoft boosts tech for nonprofits

NPower gets $5 million grant to expand network, diversify funding.

By Ret Boney

With a major infusion of cash from Microsoft, NPower is planning to diversify its funding sources and broaden and strengthen its efforts to help nonprofits maximize their use of technology.

NPower, a network of 12 nonprofits across the U.S. that help community-based nonprofits better use technology, received a four-year, $5 million challenge grant from the software giant and is charged with matching those funds dollar for dollar.

“They’re trying to help us diversify our funding and expand our work to meet the needs of nonprofits,” says Scott Schaffer, executive director of NPower. “We want to enhance our capacity to help transform nonprofit organizations and the way they do business using technology.”

The new funds will help the nonprofit grow its network by adding new affiliates and expanding existing ones, says Shaffer, and by developing remote services to assist nonprofits outside the affiliates’ service areas.

The grant also will help the organization enhance its capacity to serve nonprofits and build its own internal skills and sustainability, including further developing standards and quality-of-service mechanisms, he says.

Founded in Seattle in 1999, NPower served more than 4,000 nonprofits in 2005.

The latest grant from Microsoft brings the company’s total investment in NPower to almost $20 million in cash and almost $30 million in contributed software.

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