Special Olympics International and Microsoft have teamed up to tackle technology in sports.
Even a giant non-profit organization such as Special Olympics will have issues it needs to work through. Special Olympics International hosts 108,000 events per year, but according to GeekWire, “one of the heaviest lifts for the non-profit came from the basic mechanics of runnings their signature sporting events.”
At each event, there were functions of tallying scores, registering athletes and setting up matches. People would have to wait long hours to find out the schedule for the following day. In 2014, Microsoft and Special Olympics International teamed up to upgrade and automate technology pieces of the operations. Microsoft opened up its arms to help modernize the IT infrastructure that Special Olympics had been using.
“It’s an opportunity for us to present Seattle as a city of inclusion. We will have athletes and families coming to Seattle from every state in the country,” said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft, as well as the honorary chair of the games. As an official sponsor of the Special Olympics in Seattle in July 2018, Microsoft has embraced its role as partner and transformed the way Special Olympics executes its events. Over the past few years, Microsoft has helped through software donation, technical assistance, and a program to employ disabled workers.
Don’t think that this is a one-sided partnership though. Microsoft has been able to learn more about the needs of people who participate in Special Olympics. It has been eye opening for the organization to see at the ground level what it can do to be more inclusive as a company for people around the world. It’s a true collaboration between Microsoft, who is dedicated to helping and impacting as many consumers as possible, and Special Olympics, who tries to “transform lives through the joy of sport.”
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