Microsoft Corporation has announced the launch of the Elevate America community initiative, a new grant program to support nonprofit organizations offering employment services, including technology skills training and job placement, in local communities across the United States. The initiative is the latest extension of Elevate America, which was launched in 2009 to provide people across the country with no-and low-cost access to the technology skills they need to find employment.

To support the initiative, Microsoft is committing a total of $4 million in cash and $6 million in software and technology skills training curriculum over the next two years.

Grants will be allocated through a Request for Proposal process which invites nonprofits to share their plans for partnering with Microsoft on creating successful, scalable programs that respond to the twenty-first century skills training and employment needs of people across the U.S. For this initiative, the company has a particular but not exclusive interest in working with partners focused on the needs of women and young workers (ages 18-25).

Successful grant recipients will be funded to provide individuals with the support they need to find employment. The services provided by grant recipients to ensure a fully supportive experience for participants must include technology skills training, job placement, and strong employer connections and may also include career counseling and other support services such as childcare, transportation, and housing.

Grant applicants must be U.S.-based tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and their partner organizations, which may include workforce agencies, community colleges, labor organizations, and other nonprofit organizations.

Complete grant program guidelines and an eligibility survey for nonprofit organizations are available at the Microsoft Web site:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the opening of round six of its Grand Challenges Explorations, a $100 million grant initiative to encourage bold and unconventional global health solutions.

Grand Challenges Explorations offers researchers the chance to win grants of $100,000 to foster innovative projects with the potential to transform health in developing countries. The initiative focuses on areas where creative, unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed.

For this round, applicants are asked to focus their proposals on one of five topic areas: new approaches to cure HIV infection; next-generation sanitation technologies; low-cost cell phone-based applications for priority global health conditions; new technologies to support maternal and newborn health; and the poliovirus endgame: ways to accelerate, sustain, and monitor eradication.

The topic focusing on sanitation technologies highlights the integrated approach the foundation is taking toward health in developing countries. Improved sanitation is essential to reducing waterborne illnesses and has profound economic, educational, and social benefits.

The initiative uses a streamlined grantmaking process. Applications are two pages, and preliminary data about the proposed research is not required. All are encouraged to apply.

The foundation and an independent group of reviewers will select the most innovative proposals, and grants will be awarded within approximately four months from the proposal submission deadline.

Initial grants will be $100,000. Projects showing success will have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to $1 million.
Grand Challenges Web site

Request For Proposal

Posted on August 7, 2009
Deadline: October 31, 2009

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Invites Applications for Access to Learning Award

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s Global Libraries Access to Learning Award annually honors innovative organizations that are opening a world of online information to people in need. The program is open to institutions outside the United States that are working with disadvantaged communities.

Award applications are invited from libraries and similar organizations outside the U.S. that have created new ways to offer free public access to computers and the Internet, public training to assist users in accessing online information that can help improve their lives, technology training for library staff, and outreach to underserved communities. To be eligible, the applying institution must allow all members of the public to use computers and the Internet free of charge in a community space.

The award recipient will receive $1 million.

The online application form is available only in English and must be completed in English for applicants to be eligible for consideration.

For complete program guidelines and eligibility requirements, visit the Gates Foundation Web site.

Link to Complete RFP

Primary Subject: International Affairs/Development
Geographic Funding Area: National

Unveiling the TED Fellows program Greetings TEDsters –
It’s my pleasure to share with you the first “Great Unveiling” of TED2009: our new TED Fellows program. At TEDGlobal 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania we were struck by the remarkable conversations and collaborations inspired by the 100 fellows who attended. We saw the founding of several companies, including Black Star Line SA by speaker Herman Chenery- Hesse and TEDGlobal fellow June Arunga; the emergence of new NGOs such as, founded by Fellows Erik Hersman, Juliana Rotich and Ory Okolloh; and U.S. TEDsters setting up offices and hiring a TED Fellow in Tanzania.

Scientists met with artists and designers, tech bloggers spoke with environmental activists, and filmmakers bonded with economists. Those exceptional people continue to write Africa’s “Next Chapter.” Since then we’ve been seeking a way to bring the TED Fellows’ passion, energy and the ideas worth spreading to every TED conference, with the hope that their world-changing ideas and proven potential will meld with the talent and experience of the TED community. Introducing TED Fellows, our new international program that will bring 50 eclectic, up-and-coming world-changers to our Long Beach and Oxford conferences each year.

Twenty of those fifty will be invited back, starting the next year, as TED Senior Fellows, joining the community for a three-year term including six conferences. All TED Fellows will receive special benefits including pre-conference programs, training from world-class communications professionals, the opportunity to give short TEDTalks at TED University, the opportunity to spread their ideas on, a private social network and more. Of course, TED will cover their conference fees, travel and lodging.

We’re targeting individuals aged 21-40 from all of TED’s many disciplines, including of course, technology, entertainment and design but also science, humanities and the arts, entrepreneurs, NGOs and political and community leaders. We’re focusing on candidates from five regions of the world: Africa, Asia/Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East.

However, anyone 18 and over is welcome to apply. The first application cycle begins February 23rd, 2009. Meet our first 40 fellows here. The complete list is also at the bottom of this email. If you’d like to read more about them, you can download a PDF of the TED Fellows Program Guide. These men and women were selected for their achievement but especially for their promise. Each of them shows real potential to create positive change in their field — whether it’s technology, entertainment, design, music, art, science, business or the NGO community — in their country, and even around the world. I would like to thank the Bezos family, the Harnisch Foundation and Nokia for their visionary inaugural support of the program, with in-kind participation from TED friends Kodak, Livescribe,, and SubscriberMail. There are many opportunities for TEDsters to get involved and contribute. If you’re interested in participating, have questions or comments or would just like to learn more about the program, please email Find more information at Warmly,
 Tom Rielly
 TED Community Director

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Online application due: April 3, 2009. Seeking innovations that expand economic opportunity at scale/create impact for significant numbers of low-and moderate-income Americans.

CFED, a national nonprofit, inaugurated innovation@cfed to accelerate the next generation of strategies to expand economic opportunity for Americans. We believe that building wealth for those without wealth will bring greater social equity, alleviate poverty and lead to a more sustainable economy.  innovation@cfed will harvest new ideas for policy, practice and programs that help Americans build assets and put them on surer financial footing.

We believe it is possible and profitable — within a generation — to provide every American the resources to pursue higher education, start a business, buy a home and save for the future. We’ve been proving this is possible for three decades in communities across the nation. Now is the time to take our ideas — and yours — to the next level. Sign Up today at

Receive a $50,000 stipend and the full support of CFED, sharing our staff, resources, expertise and connections. 

Innovators-in-Residence will be selected from a pool of innovators with good, solid, promising and tested innovations, those who would benefit from support and resources to refine and expand the application of those innovations to reach thousands, if not millions of Americans. Innovators-in-Residence will receive financial and technical support and a virtual or onsite CFED residency to refine and grow their innovations to marketable scale or to advance them through expanded real-world application.

Innovators-in-Residence will receive:

  • $50,000 cash stipend or equivalent
  • Office and meeting space at CFED’s Washington, DC, headquarters
  • Connection to CFED’s technology platform and online resources
  • Support from, and opportunities to collaborate with, CFED’s expertise in areas such as applied research, communications, field development, information technology, policy, resource development and web development
  • Pairing with a CFED staff partner as an in-house concept champion
  • Access to CFED networks, resources and relationships; invitations to CFED events, meetings and trainings.

Step One: Online Application

The application form should be completed and submitted online at

Step Two:  Invitation to Submit More Detailed Proposal

Individuals who submit promising applications will be invited, via e-mail on April 17, 2009, to submit a more detailed proposal and supporting documentation. The deadline for receiving this additional information from invited applicants is May 1, 2009. CFED staff will be available to provide input and guidance to applicants at this stage.

Selection Criteria includes: Could the innovation expand economic opportunity at scale/create impact for significant numbers of low-and moderate-income Americans?

2009 Nomination Deadline: March 27, 2009. $250,000 in Cash Prizes to be Awarded to Innovators Using Technology to Benefit Humanity

Nominations for The Tech Awards are now being accepted.

The Tech Awards is an international awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.

The Tech Awards program inspires global engagement in applying technology to humanity’s most pressing problems by recognizing the best of those who are utilizing innovative technology solutions to address the most urgent critical issues facing our planet. People all over the world are profoundly improving the human condition in the areas of education, equality, environment, health, and economic development through the use of technology. It is the goal of The Tech Awards to showcase their compelling stories and reward their brilliant accomplishments.

Each year, candidates are nominated and then invited to submit applications. Individuals, for-profit companies, and not-for-profit organizations are eligible. International panels of judges review the applications and annually select 25 Laureates. Awards are presented in five categories: Health, Education, Environment, Economic Development, and Equality. Five Laureates in each category are honored and one Laureate per category receives $50,000. Laureates are honored at an annual Gala event and inducted into The Tech Awards Network (TAN). The TAN extends the award program from an annual event to a year round program. The goal of the TAN is to create opportunities for learning, networking, and exposure to assist the Laureates in furthering their work.

The Tech Awards accepts nominations year-round. Nominations received after March 27, 2009 will be considered for The Tech Awards 2010.

Criteria: Ensure the candidate is eligible

Categories: Decide which category best fits the project


Nomination Form: Submit your nomination