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January 01 2007

Powered by Microsoft\'s Nearly $1 Million Investment, Operation HOPE Narrows the Digital Technology Divide

Effort to Broaden Cyberspace Community Motivates Industry Leader to Contribute Money, Software and Resources to Financial Literacy Nonprofit Serving Under-Resourced Neighborhoods

LOS ANGELES, CA-- January 09, 2008
-- Operation HOPE\'s (HOPE) demonstrated ability to make technology and technology skills more accessible to the masses has resulted in Microsoft providing $895,000 in software, curriculum and technology assistance, and a cash grant investment to the nonprofit.

Microsoft\'s software will be used to support the leading digital empowerment organization\'s core service modules. In addition, HOPE\'s corporate interoperability, client management and volunteer involvement systems will be greatly enhanced, or "powered by Microsoft" in the words of HOPE\'s Founder and Chairman John Hope Bryant.

Furthering Microsoft\'s objective to broaden digital inclusion for a billion people by 2015, this partnership speaks to accomplishing that goal. The public, moreover, will be able to take advantage of these improved programming services through the national network of eight HOPE Inner City Cyber Cafes located within the HOPE Center Banking Network.

HOPE projects the donation will impact thousands of individuals using HOPE services throughout the U.S. and South Africa by Microsoft\'s target date of 2015. "We applaud Microsoft\'s commitment," said Lance Triggs, Executive Vice-President and Chief of HOPE Banking Center Network. "Through their support we will continue to impact the lives of those who will now be able to take advantage of all the technology currently available, yet missing in many under-served communities."

"Operation HOPE has made financial literacy the cornerstone of its efforts, efforts in line with Microsoft\'s mission to narrow the technology skills gap and aid work-force development on a global scale," said Dr. Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director, Global Community Affairs, Microsoft Corporation.

With companies like Microsoft, HOPE believes that people can do amazing things if they have the right tools. Going into its 16th year, the "silver rights" organization has worked to make the necessary resources available to underserved communities; giving people a hand up, and not just a hand out. To date, HOPE has educated over 270,000 low-wealth youth in financial literacy, created more than 1000 new homeowners and small business owners, and raised more than $400 million in grants and commitments for homeownership and small business loans from their 400 bank and corporate partners.

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Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.