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Steve Ballmer, Microsoft donate combined $21M to fund STEM scholarships in Washington State

Microsoft and its former CEO Steve Ballmer each signed big checks this week that will help send more low- and middle-income students seeking STEM degrees to college in Washington State. Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie Ballmer gave $11 million to the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship while Microsoft gave $10 million. The donations follow a $20 million gift from Seattle angel investor Gary Rubens in April, all of which was matched by state funds dollar-for-dollar.2-3 This is just the latest extracurricular activity for Steve Ballmer, who left Microsoft last year after 14 years at the helm. He has since taught a business class at Stanford, bought the L.A. Clippers professional basketball team, invested in a former coworker’s startup and even scooped up a prime slice of Bellevue real estate. Now we can add to the list helping to solve Washington’s notorious issues training enough workers to fill jobs created in the state by the booming tech sector.Between these donations and the $25 million both Microsoft and Boeing gave to launch WSOS in 2011, the program has pretty much capped off all the funding it needed to hit its goal of sending 13,000 students to college over 10 years. So far, 62 percent of students in the program have been female, 57 percent have been the first in their family to attend college, more than half identified themselves as students of color and their median household income is $47,000, according to a WSOS spokesperson.

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