Microsoft Alumni Foundation awards Densho’s Tom Ikeda $25K


Tom Ikeda. courtesy of Densho

Tom Ikeda. courtesy of Densho

SEATTLE — Bill and Melinda Gates announced the Microsoft Alumni Foundation’s 2011 Integral Fellows winners Nov. 16. at the third annual celebration to honor former Microsoft employees for making a meaningful difference in the daily lives of others.

The Foundation, which was established in 2007, aims to make a difference in the world through the combined efforts of the Microsoft alumni.

The three recipients this year are Tom Ikeda of Densho, Oliver Hurst-Hiller of and David Risher of Worldreader.

The foundation stated that the award recipients receive an unrestricted $25,000 grant for their nonprofit organizations and access to the talents and skills of other alumni within the foundation to help support their ongoing efforts.

Ikeda, who is founder and executive director of the nonprofit, which aims to “educate, preserve, collaborate and inspire action for equity,” was honored for his commitment to share the untold stories of struggles and sacrifices made by Japanese Americans during World War II, according to the statement.

More than 120,000 persons of Japanese decent — most of whom were American citizens — were imprisoned in concentration camps during the war.
According to Densho, its name is a Japanese term that means “to pass on to the next generation,” or to leave a legacy. The organization aims to educate future generations about the legacy of the Issei and Nisei who faced discrimination.

Founded in 1996, the organization has worked to educate, preserve, collaborate and inspire action for equity and use digital technology to preserve and make accessible primary source materials on the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, according to Densho.

According to a statement the foundation issued, the recipients of the award were chosen after a rigorous evaluation of the finalists with respect to the organization’s main values of 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.

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