Microsoft commits further tech and cloud support for non-profits combating COVID-19

Last month, Microsoft detailed its plans to adjust continuity for cloud services due to an ongoing global pandemic caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Despite limiting free Azure offers in some regions at the time, the Redmond giant has today announced that these limitations won't be affecting non-profits that are critical in combating the coronavirus.

Additionally, the firm has announced increased tech and cloud support for frontline responders that are offering a variety of services at this time. Under its Philanthropies initiative, the firm is committing $35 million to the cause, increasing available Azure credits by twice the current amount, offering further Windows benefits, and adding new pro bono services.

The aforementioned benefits have been specified as follows:

  • Double the Azure credit for specified nonprofits from $3,500 to $7,000 to be used within 12 months
  • To support Window Virtual Desktop scenarios we are making 100 licenses of Windows Upgrade available through our TechSoup donation offer and coupling that with a Windows Enterprise E3 trial for up to 100 seats for six months.  This will provide the base operating system licenses to take advantage of all the Windows Virtual Desktop capabilities for mid-size organizations
  • To help organizations rapidly deploy we are setting up three new remote services free of charge:
    • Azure Onboarding Concierge: To help organizations set up their Azure credit subscription, understand administrator roles, cost management and governance best practices
    • Windows Virtual Desktop Help Desk: To support organizations with technical questions during their deployment of Windows Virtual Desktop, and will engage organizations with a partner or FastTrack for long–term extended support to ensure an efficient and effective deployment
    • Microsoft Community Training (MCT) Concierge: Microsoft Community Training supports personalized learning for a large-scale mobile-based community. This service provides an overview of available content and assists with configuration and deployment

Furthermore, Microsoft has also launched Nonprofit Data Warehouse Quickstart as an integration solution for firms interested in compiling different data sources through a single, unifying data warehouse. This data can then viewed through Power BI. Specifically with regard to the context of this pandemic, organizations can make intelligent decisions regarding the utilization of their resources in supporting affected communities.

As far as eligibility for the improved benefits is concerned, nonprofits belonging to "health support, human services, public safety, food and nutrition, housing support and COVID-19 research organizations" will be considered. For organizations already being offered support, the new benefits can be viewed by checking out the COVID-19 response offer at the Microsoft Nonprofit Portal. Meanwhile, those that are not already part of the plan but still fall under the above-mentioned criteria can register to get approved and acquire the offered support, which will remain active for all beneficiaries until June 30.

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