Richard Is Named Microsoft Integral Fellow

Richard Is Named Microsoft Integral Fellow

Pongo's Founder, Richard Gold, honored by Bill & Melinda Gates in 2010

Microsoft Alumni Foundation announces 2010 Integral Fellows Award Winners

On November 18, at the Microsoft Alumni Foundation 2010 Celebration, Bill and Melinda Gates recognized the nominees, finalists and three award winning alumni as the 2010 Integral Fellows.  This is the second annual Foundation celebration honoring Microsoft alumni who have used their talents, time and resources to make a meaningful difference in the daily lives of others. The Integral Fellows Awards Program awarded three Microsoft alumni with an unrestricted $25,000 grant for their nonprofit organizations and access to the talents and skills of alumni to help support their ongoing efforts. 

“Our job is to promote and celebrate the work being done by Microsoft alumni around the world. Tonight we celebrate the three award winners, along with all of this year’s nominees, who have dedicated themselves to helping solve some of the world’s most challenging problems,” said Marylou Brannan, Executive Director, of the Microsoft Alumni Foundation. “The Foundation brings together Microsoft alumni and serves as the link to connect, inspire, recognize and leverage our community to help elevate us all.” 

The three award winners and their nonprofit organizations are: 

  • Richard Gold, Pongo Publishing
  • Cliff Schmidt, Literacy Bridge
  • Frank Schott, NetHope 

The distinguished panel of judges included:

  • Tom Brokaw, journalist and author
  • Bill Drayton, chair and CEO, Ashoka
  • William H. Gates Sr., co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Pierre Omidyar, founding partner, Omidyar Network and founder and chairman, eBay Inc.
  • Judith Rodin, president, Rockefeller Foundation
  • Thomas J. Tierney, chairman and co-founder, Bridgespan Group 

Rigorous evaluation of the finalists recognized achievements that embody the values of the Microsoft Alumni Foundation, which are: innovation; entrepreneurship; effectiveness; collaboration and integrity.  Additional criteria in selecting the winners included: the ability to create something extraordinary out of limited resources; selflessness; passion; smarts; need; and, scalability. 

“It’s terrific to see such remarkable philanthropy and community service coming out of this group of Microsoft Alumni,” said Melinda French Gates, co-chair and trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  “The list of nominees for this award is a tremendous reminder of what great things can come when creativity, drive and passion are directed at problems facing our world.” 

About the Integral Fellows Awards Program winners:

  • Pongo Teen Writing runs poetry projects for youth in juvenile detention, homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, and other sites. The consistent theme in the young people’s writing is early childhood trauma, such as physical abuse, rape, addiction at home, death on the streets. But young people feel proud of their written work and use their poetry to heal themselves and others. In its 15 years, Pongo has served 5,000 teens, published 12 books, given away 12,500 poetry books to teens, shared youth poetry with 10,000 people in the community, and made its innovative resources available for free on the Pongo web site.
  • Literacy Bridge improves the health, education, and income of impoverished rural families through an innovative audio computer that provides them with easy access to on-demand, locally relevant, practical information.  Just as the rest of the world has the convenience of a local library or the Web, the Talking Book delivers an audio library of critical knowledge to those who need it most — people who cannot read and live in extreme poverty. Partnerships with local experts in health, agriculture and education ensure that the information is relevant and actionable. 
  • NetHope has brought together many of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations to better serve the developing world through smarter use of technology. NetHope currently includes 32 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) representing more than $33 billion dollars of humanitarian development, emergency response, and conservation programs in 180 countries. NetHope is a catalyst to help NGOs collaborate, innovate, and use information and communications technology (ICT) to be more efficient and effective.

About the Foundation:  The Microsoft Alumni Foundation was established to catalyze the collective power of Microsoft alumni and leverage our resources to provide innovative, scalable and transformative solutions to our world’s challenges.  Launched in 2007, the Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity with its worldwide headquarters based in Bellevue, Washington, USA.  Board members include: Jeff Raikes (chair); Chuck Hirsch (president); Scott Oki (co-founder and vice president); Paul Shoemaker (treasurer); Tony Audino (co-founder); Sharon Maghie (co-founder and secretary) and Brad Smith (Microsoft representative).
Note to editors:  If you are interested in viewing additional information on the Microsoft Alumni Foundation, please visit

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