Microsoft donation to the Smithsonian Latino Center celebrates and supports community history and culture

Molina Family Latino Gallery Digital Plaza renderingRendering of the Molina Family Latino Gallery Digital Plaza. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Today, Microsoft is honored to announce a $1 million donation to the Smithsonian Latino Center to support the new National Museum of the American Latino and the development of the Molina Family Latino Gallery. The National Museum of the American Latino is the Smithsonian’s first museum space dedicated to celebrating the U.S. Hispanic and Latinx community experience. While the larger museum is being built, our contributions will support the development of the Molina Family Latino Gallery in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

The new museum will serve as a destination for visitors to learn how the Hispanic and Latinx community have contributed to art, history, culture and science in the U.S. and will serve as a gateway to collections and programming at other Smithsonian museums and research centers. Exhibitions in the Molina Family Latino Gallery will present bilingual stories for multigenerational and cross-cultural audiences, and visitors can enjoy the experience in person or virtually when it opens this year. In addition to supporting financially as an early founding donor, Microsoft will work with the Latino Center to uncover opportunities to leverage Microsoft technology to bring these exhibits to life as the Smithsonian breaks ground and the new museum is built.

Our support of the Smithsonian Latino Center is deeply important to me personally. As a member of the Hispanic and Latinx community, I am inspired by initiatives that showcase the richness of our culture and the positive impact it continues to have in the U.S. and around the world. And as a Brazilian living in the U.S., I am both honored and extremely proud to represent such an energetic and innovative community. I’ve had the opportunity to visit many countries in Latin America, and I am always amazed by the warmth of its people, its breathtaking history and its colorful traditions. This museum will provide new opportunities to explore how Hispanic and Latinx cultures have influenced and impacted the rich diversity in this country today.

Hispanic and Latinx people make up 18.7% of the U.S. population, hold a GDP of $2.7 trillion, and the number of businesses they own has grown at more than twice the U.S. average across most industries. Nevertheless, they are underrepresented in politics, boardrooms and C-suites. The Smithsonian Latino Center will help increase awareness of the significant impact the Hispanic and Latinx community has on contemporary American society through exhibitions, scholarly research, collections, public programs, digital content, educational resources and publications. The history of democracy and the multicultural profile of the U.S. are at the heart of innovation and the country would not be the same without the presence of the Hispanic and Latinx community.

Microsoft’s support of the Smithsonian’s Molina Family Latino Gallery and the new National Museum of the American Latino is part of a longstanding commitment to foster diversity and inclusion within our company and across the communities where we live and work. As learning institutions, museums create critical spaces and experiences that increase access to the culture, innovations and impact of this community. At Microsoft we believe that understanding a community’s history and stories is core to building empathy and addressing injustice and inequity in our society.

Our support for the Hispanic and Latinx community is ongoing and includes:

  • Internal programs to strengthen inclusion and increase representation, such as our Leading the Future program. This leadership program strengthens our intentional career planning and talent development efforts across our workforce, beginning with Hispanic and Latinx, and Black and African American employees and their managers. Leading the Future is part of our commitments outlined in June 2020 to increase diversity in representation of people managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders, and continue to evolve our culture of inclusion.
  • External efforts to diversify our ecosystem of Microsoft technology partners, banking partners and suppliers, and encourage diversity within those organizations. For example, the TechSpark program works with local partners to ensure everyone – including those in rural and remote communities – can benefit from the digital economy through our tools and resources. In each community, we partner across sectors to understand the unique regional challenges and to explore solutions, programs and partnerships that will be most effective at the local level.
  • External efforts to use our platform to provide visibility to critical social issues. One way we are doing this is through leveraging Microsoft’s privilege and platform to share insights and perspectives from some of the world’s leading experts on identity, culture, social change and diversity and inclusion in our Inclusion Journey site.

We encourage you to explore the following videos related to this announcement from our Inclusion Journey site:

Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center and interim director of the National Museum of the American Latino shared with us his perspectives on the impact of the museum and the opportunity for inclusion.

Dr. G. Cristina Mora, assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley shared insights into the intentional ways organizations can create an inclusive workplace for the Hispanic and Latinx community.

Tags: diversity, inclusion, Smithsonian Latino Center

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