2013-2014 TMCF/MS Software Grant


TMCF Technology Initiative Overview

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) commissioned a comprehensive study of technology usage at our 47 member publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in April 2000 and from that study, identified needs and opportunities to upgrade technology at our member-schools. We are determined to eliminate the digital divide that separates students at our colleges and universities from their counterparts at better funded colleges and universities.  Upgrading technology at publicly-supported HBCUs will help ensure that our institutions remain equally competitive in preparing young men and women for the global marketplace. Further research indicates that the schools continue to need software to support the instructional programs at the institutions and manage the campus networks. Training is the major need of the institutions. This training should be in the form of face-to-face instruction since staff has a difficult time finding the time for on-line training.

The member-schools have also indicated that there critical need for data storage on the campuses. They have also indicated that there are needs for improved security tools to manage the campus networks and data storage. This will become a critical issue with some new federal regulations. In addition, the campuses indicated that there is a continued need for network switching and wireless equipment.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund Technology Initiative was created to address long-term technology needs of the schools and to identify funding sources to support technology upgrades. TMCF is the only national organization providing programmatic and capacity building support to the 47 publicly-supported HBCUs, which enroll 80% of students attending HBCUs.

The TMCF Technology Initiative has three goals:
  1. University and college faculty, administrative personnel, and students will have access to current technology and be able to employ the use of them in their respective activities – increase productivity by administrative personnel, improve instructional effectiveness and make more information available to faculty, and enable improved learning for students through additional information and methodologies. 
  2. The new technology will be promoted to administrative staff, faculty, and students, and the benefits will be shown to them.  Assistance will be provided to help them understand the use of the technology.
  3. Residents of the surrounding communities will have access to IT Resources through the college and university. 
This program is designed to foster a high performance learning environment that enables:
  • Effective communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Collaborative learning
  • Digital age literacy
TMCF is working with the public and private sector to secure additional technology funding to provide assistance to member-schools to develop and upgrade Information Technology (IT) strategic planning, technology infrastructure, and technology learning tools.  We expect this program to directly benefit the students, faculty and administrators on the TMCF member-schools’ campuses, as well as the surrounding communities.

1.0    Microsoft Donation Overview

As the technology partner, Microsoft awarded TMCF an $8 million software grant to launch the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Technology Initiative for 2013 and 2014.  This donation will enable TMCF to provide software to member-schools to upgrade institutional computers and technology.

The software is available to TMCF member-schools through a review process, managed by the TMCF, designed to identify the schools best prepared technologically to effectively use and implement software and solutions for the benefit of students, faculty, and administration. TMCF member-schools selected to receive software from this grant implemented technology solutions to help the schools become more competitive; address key long-term technology needs and opportunities; and, benefit students, faculty and administrative staffs.

1.1    Technology Advisory Committee

TMCF has established a Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) to investigate, evaluate and recommend tactical and strategic advanced technology initiatives on behalf of the TMCF.  The scope of the TAC includes the evaluation of the following information technology areas for the TMCF and its representative schools and support organizations:
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Network/Internet
  • Technology Education
  • Implementation Strategies
The TAC has been asked by TMCF to administer the distribution of software made possible through the Microsoft grant.  The TAC has developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, outlined in the following sections of this document, which TMCF member-schools are asked to follow in applying for software through the Microsoft grant. 

The Microsoft grant makes available Microsoft software and licenses across the spectrum of Microsoft products including operating system software, desktop applications, programming, server, site management and instructional software.  A complete listing of software available can be found here.

This RFP is for software only.  Installation, training, and other services are the responsibility of the campuses or may be obtained through future grants from other sources.  One goal of this donation from Microsoft is to ensure that the university and college faculty, students and administrative personnel will have access to the latest software technologies and be able to use them in their respective activities. It is anticipated that the implementation and use of these software tools will:
  • Improve instructional effectiveness and increase resource availability for faculty;
  • Increase students’ IT skill development and access to current information technology tools, positioning them to be more competitive in the job market after graduation;
  • Increase the productivity of administrative personnel; and
  • Enhance the technology infrastructure of the campus.
To assess the needs of individual campuses against the resources available, any campus wishing to receive donations of Microsoft software products shall submit a proposal describing their specific needs, justification, technology plans/planning, and how and where the software will be used.  Campuses will submit their proposals to TMCF for evaluation.  The TAC will evaluate each proposal and make recommendations for a software grant. We know that the needs of the campuses are great, greater than one corporation can completely fulfill by itself.  We believe this RFP process will help ensure that available resources are being directed where they are most needed and can make an immediate impact. 

Review and evaluation by the committee will be rigorous and will follow the evaluation criteria described in Section 4. 
The process to be followed is shown below.


In reviewing and evaluating proposals, the action by the committee will consist of any of the following:
  • Notify TMCF of the TAC recommendations, and after TMCF approval, the request is sent to Microsoft;
  • Return the proposal/request to the college/university with recommendations for modification and re-submission;
  • Request more data from the college or university before making a decision; or
  • Reject the proposal/request (outright rejection is unlikely – recommendations for changes will generally be made by the committee to a campus).
It is the desire of TMCF, the TAC, and Microsoft for the colleges and universities to receive the maximum amount of software that will help them improve their instructional programs.  It is the intent of the Committee in reviewing proposals to balance the need of the campus with the ability to support and use the software as well as the availability of software.  The committee will request additional information, if necessary, so that the proposal meets all of the qualifications of the Microsoft Corporation for receiving donations.  When additional information is requested by the committee or by Microsoft, the committee will provide guidance to the requesting college or university on the request.  The RFP is then submitted to TMCF for approval.  TMCF will work with Microsoft for fulfillment.

Once Microsoft approves a grant of software, TMCF will inform the campus and the procedures for obtaining the software.  All donated software will be made available to campuses through Microsoft’s Software Donation Program.  Donated software (with few exceptions) will include software assurance and the ability to upgrade the software for a minimal fee should Microsoft issue an upgrade within a period of two years following the initial donation.  Campuses will have the option to elect to continue a subscription to software assurance on their own as a part of their Campus Agreements or other campus licensing/software purchase agreements.  Campuses can expect to receive software within four weeks of notification by TMCF.

Proposals may be submitted at any time during the two-year period of this project.  A college or university that has received software as a result of a successful proposal is not precluded from submitting an additional proposal(s) for different software and/or different uses or to fulfill newly recognized needs.  Each proposal will be evaluated on its own merits. TMCF will be allocating $4 million worth of software in 2013 and the remaining $4 million in 2014.  TMCF will also be pursuing other funding sources that may afford additional opportunities.

A timeline for the program is as follows:

2013 Submission Deadlines – Jun. 30th, Aug. 31st, Oct. 31st, and Dec. 31st

2014 Submission Deadlines – Feb. 28th, Apr. 30th, Jun. 30th, Aug. 31st, Oct. 31st, and Dec. 31st

Shipment of software from Microsoft – Approximately 4-6 weeks after award date

2.0    Software

The Microsoft software products that may be requested are shown in the table below.  When available, Microsoft will include Software Assurance with each software donation.  Software Assurance provides access to the newest version of Microsoft software for a product for a period of two years from the date of purchase (date of donation).  If a product you receive through this donation is upgraded within the next two years and is eligible for Software Assurance, the donated licenses will automatically convert to the newest version of the software.  You will be instructed as to the appropriate procedure for receiving updated media at a minimal one-time charge.

Specific product information on Microsoft software can be found here, while the price list can be found here.

Further questions may be directed to Microsoft Pre-Sales Support at 1-800-426-9400. 

3.0 Instructions to Preparers

Questions should be submitted to:
Brad Gebert
e:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
p: 704.443.8014 

It is important to be as accurate as possible and to provide as much data as possible to justify the request.  Microsoft and the other donors must be assured that the products they donate will be used to directly and actively affect the teaching programs and won't sit on a shelf.  Donors are giving their products with the expectation that the products will become familiar and useful tools to users.

Your proposal should consist of the following information:
  • Submitter Data Sheet consisting of the following information:
    • Member-school name
    • President/Chancellor's name and signature
    • CIO's name and signature
  • The Software Request spreadsheet with quantities listed for each software title requested
  • A statement of how this software will meet the academic and/or administrative needs of your campus, how many faculty/staff or students it will benefit, etc
  • An Implementation/roll-out and Support Plan - a plan of how the products will be implemented/installed, including installation support, training, maintenance, and publicizing the new products and features.
Please keep the proposals brief (3 pages) to minimize the effort of proposal preparation for you. 


4.0 Evaluation Criteria

The TMCF Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) will evaluate all proposals.  The TAC will review each proposal against the established criteria including merit/need and content and will make recommendations for a software donation to the TMCF.  The TAC may request additional documentation or responses.  After approving the TAC's recommendations, TMCF will work with Microsoft to fulfill the donation. 

The following criteria will be used in evaluating proposals:
  1. Application of IT resources, including approach to improving access to computers and IT resources on campus; demonstrated improvements to the teaching process and the education of students; expected improvements in productivity of faculty and staff; ability to provide additional resources, classes, programs, and opportunities to faculty, staff, and students; and benefit to the community.
  2. Planning, including a cohesive and realistic plan or vision to improve the IT resources available to faculty, students, and staff; adequacy of plans to train faculty, staff, and students to use the new software products; realism of Implementation/Roll-out Plan to include adequate resources that are in place, planned, and/or requested to implement, maintain, and support the products requested as well as those in place or planned (independent of this grant).

Questions should be submitted to:

Brad Gebert
e:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
p: 704.443.8014