Former Microsoft CEO Says Creating Economic Mobility for All Will Take Local Focus, Unified Effort and Hard Work

DALLAS -- Steve Ballmer has gobs of money. The former Microsoft CEO is one of the richest people in the world, with a net worth of around $30 billion.He also wants all children in the United States to have economic mobility.But he’s not willing to throw his wealth around in hopes of finding a fix-all solution, what he calls “spray and pray.”That’s the wrong approach to look at education philanthropy, said Ballmer, the keynote speaker at the annual Dallas County Education Investors meeting, held Tuesday at the George W. Bush Institute.A comprehensive strategy touching all aspects of a child’s life, from safety to housing to health, is what’s needed for kids to “become healthier in an educational sense,” he said.“People expect some sort of lightning bolt -- ‘A Ha!' -- It’s that one intervention, 'If only we did X, Y, or Z,’” Ballmer said. “The truth is, there is no lightning bolt. This will require a lot of, what I might refer to, almost like a ground war in the military. You crunch it out and work at it every day.”That practical approach is what Ballmer and his wife Connie have turned their philanthropic efforts toward. While they are planning larger projects in cities where they have direct ties -- Los Angeles, Seattle and Detroit -- the Ballmers want to affect change by supporting existing local organizations across the country that are already finding traction in budging the educational needle, such as Dallas non-profit Commit.  Continue reading...

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