On November 19th, 2009, at the Microsoft Alumni Foundation 2009 Founders' Gala, Bill and Melinda Gates recognized three award winning "Integral Fellows" - Ashesi President, Patrick Awuah, Technology Access Foundation, Founder Trish Millines and Room to Read Founder John Woods. The award honors Microsoft Alumni who have made a meaningful difference in the daily lives of others by using their talents, time and resources to contribute to the community. The Integral Fellows program awarded three Microsoft alumni with an unrestricted $25,000 grant for their nonprofit organizations, additional funds raised at the gala, as well access to the talents and skills of alumni to help support their ongoing efforts.

"It's really about helping Microsoft alumni maximize and leverage resources. The Foundation provides the framework to bring people, ideas and organizations together to help address our world's challenges," said Jeff Raikes, chair of the Microsoft Alumni Foundation Board. "These three award winners, along with all of our nominees, exemplify what it means to give back. Their work is deeply rooted in service and making a difference in people's lives."

Rigorous evaluation of the finalists included achievements that embody the values of the Microsoft Alumni Foundation: innovative; entrepreneurial, effective; collaborative and to operate with integrity. The nominees were also judged on: the ability to create something extraordinary out of limited resources; selflessness; passion; smarts; need and scalability.

The panel of judges included Gates Foundation Co-Chairman, Bill Gates Sr.; Former US President, Jimmy Carter; Ashoka Founder, Bill Drayton; E-Bay Founder, Pierre Omidyar and Bridgespan Group Co-founder, Thomas Tierney.

To date, Microsoft alumni have launched over 150 nonprofits, generating over $100 million dollars a year, impacting over 100 countries around the world, in virtually every program area imaginable.

Click here to read more about the Microsoft Alumni Foundation Integral Fellows Award.