After making a $25 million donation to a Washington state scholarship program this week, Microsoft said K-12 education is next on the agenda. Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief legal counsel and the head of Washington state policy issues for the company, sat down to talk about public policy, a day after announcing that Microsoft would donate the money to launch a state-wide endowment for college scholarships. Boeing also stepped forward with $25 million. The donations came as the state gave universities the power to raise tuition rates, which financial aid may not keep pace with. Smith said dialogue around K-12 reminds him of the conversations on higher education. “It is reminiscent of the conversation the governor had last June to have a task force on higher education. It was a year ago to the day that the prevailing notion was nothing could get done in higher education” in Olympia, he said. Microsoft's money will become part of an endowment for college scholarships. Smith said he has and will personally make calls to get more corporations and individual donors to contribute. He said the big goal is to raise a $1 billion endowment. Smith said Microsoft decided it needed to step up as a leader on state policy issues after Boeing moved its corporate headquarter to Chicago.
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