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Microsoft Windows 10 - Upgrade Your World

Technology is always evolving to make tomorrow better than yesterday.

Businesses are able to run more smoothly, we can connect with people faster — even something as simple as ordering takeout has become, well, simpler.

But what we don't always see is the greater purpose the tech world's incredible advancements are serving. Technology can do great things to make the world a better place.


With it, education has become more accessible, social media has given a voice to the voiceless — even treating a patient halfway across the world has become possible.

Nonprofits have harnessed the power and potential of technology to create more good in the world as well. They are optimizing their operations, amplifying their voices, and expanding their critical programs and services to upgrade their communities and the world.

Here are nine awesome ways nonprofits are using technology to everyone's advantage.

1. Improving the health of mothers and newborns in India with do-it-all phones and real-time data.

Health care workers in Bihar, India, used to have to carry up to 38 backbreaking ledgers from home to home just to keep record of their patients' progress. But with help from CARE, the workers can now conduct checkups just by using an app on their phones.

Image via Windows/YouTube.

They can schedule visits and register and record real-time health information for mothers, pregnant women, and newborns, giving health care workers a quicker picture of what their patients' needs are and how they can improve their condition without missing a beat.

2. Mapping underwater habitats to create a more sustainable ocean ecosystem.

The Nature Conservancy's Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative is creating an exciting new way to study and map marine life.

Image via The Nature Conservancy, used with permission.

Researchers are creating detailed maps to better understand the value of ocean ecosystems and how they ultimately affect the livelihood of surrounding communities. The mapping provides people with more accurate information on how to maximize the ocean habitats and better sustain their ecosystems.

3. Breaking barriers and promoting inclusion for all of the world's athletes.

Special Olympics is stepping up their game by providing their athletes with tech to help them track performance, train smarter, and compete harder. On top of that, they can share their achievements online and connect with other athletes.

Image via Windows/YouTube.

In addition, they are using technology to bring athletes with and without disabilities together through Play Unified — a series of events across the country sponsored by Special Olympics. Through the beauty of sport, they're working — and playing — together to promote inclusion and combat the intolerance many individuals with disabilities face.

4. Building better school systems and improving childhood literacy in remote areas.

250 million children around the world lack basic reading and writing skills. Thankfully, Pencils of Promise has made it a mission to lower that number by building schools, providing quality educational programming, and supporting teachers in remote communities.

Image via Windows/YouTube.

Even better, they digitally track and measure the progress of each student, making it easier to see the effects of their lesson plans and adjust them to be more effective. Now with 363 schools around the world, Pencils of Promise continues to make progress toward its goal of providing access to quality education for all children.

5. Providing support groups for and connecting young people living with HIV.

The stigma surrounding HIV can be incredibly difficult to deal with for a young person. But Keep a Child Alive has found that technology can play a simple but extremely effective role in changing their outlook.

Image via Windows.

Using Skype, young people are able to share their experiences, challenges, hopes, and dreams with others just like them. Whether across town or across the African continent, they're creating a community of empowerment focused on fighting the impact of HIV on their families, friends, and communities.

6. Creating a global community of difference-makers and coordinating their efforts online.

Global Citizen's plan is straightforward: End extreme poverty, fight inequality, and fix climate change by 2030. Yes, it's bold, but they believe it can be done with the help of technology.

Image via Global Citizen/YouTube.

Global Citizen provides an online platform for people to connect with others, spread the message to world leaders, and fight for change. But they're also making it incredibly fun. Through gamification and the wildly successful Global Citizen Festival, doing great things has never been so engaging.

7. Creating more effective and meaningful connections between children and their sponsors.

Save the Children provides an early start to education for children living in poverty. And with technology's help, they can speed up the learning process significantly.

Image via Windows.

Connecting each sponsor with the children they're supporting is a key part of what keeps Save the Children's programs going, but it typically requires a lot of data transfer between offices that can take up to three weeks. With a more efficient online system in place, however, data can be accessed in real time, resulting in accelerated and improved interactions between sponsors and the children they're supporting.

8. Generating the largest educational event in the history of the world.

Code.org has a simple idea: Get kids to explore computer science with just an hour of code. It started out small but has since expanded to over 100 million students in 180 countries. Now anyone can organize their own Hour of Code around the world!

Image via Windows.

With an ever-evolving digital landscape, knowledge in computer science is extremely important for our future generations. No doubt, the world's largest educational event will only get bigger as the message continues to spread.

9. Giving a voice to young women around the world.

Malala Yousafzai has taken the world by storm with her relentless pursuit of education for girls around the world through her nonprofit, Malala Fund. Her organization has partnered with Nairobits, a Kenyan nonprofit that provides training in communications and technology to marginalized adolescent girls.

Image via Malin Fezehai/HUMAN for Malala Fund. Used with permission.

The program also provides job support and mentorship for these young women to improve their quality of life and assist their families in a way they never could before. As of 2015, they had 150 girls enrolled in the program, and that number has already doubled this year. Just imagine where they'll be in a decade!

All of these efforts are part of Microsoft's initiative to Upgrade Your World.

As part of the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft undertook a yearlong initiative to celebrate people and organizations doing great things to upgrade the world. They invested $10 million in 110 nonprofits and donated more than $10 million in technology to help them achieve more.

But it's not just these organizations that are benefiting — each year, Microsoft supports more than 100,000 nonprofits around the world with software and services to help them do more good.

In fact, your favorite nonprofit could qualify for a software donation from Microsoft, too. Visit microsoft.com/nonprofits for more details.

Without question, technology can be a powerful force that opens exciting opportunities for nonprofits. And if these organizations are any indication, we can't wait to see what the future holds.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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