During Lily Kanter's five and a half years with Microsoft, the tech-driven New Economy spawned scores of millionaires every time the NASDAQ took another giddy bounce into the ozone.
But Kanter, whose physician father ran a free clinic and whose mother taught in inner-city schools, knows that life's breaks aren't doled out equally. That's why she and her husband Marc, a Web entrepreneur, took some $2 million of their burgeoning fortune and set up the Sarosi-Kanter Charitable Foundation, which they use to translate good intentions into good works for others.
Case in point: While serving as business manager of Microsoft's San Francisco retail outlet, Kanter, 35, took an interest in some younger employees who stocked shelves and handled the cash registers. "These kids were as passionate and knowledgeable about computers as anyone who works in the high-tech industry," says Kanter, who left Microsoft last year. "But with all they knew about PCs and software, they were making seven to 10 bucks an hour. Why weren't they working at $50,000-$100,000 jobs in Silicon Valley?"
Talking to the twentyish staffers, she found the answer: Most lacked the college degree or profes-sional certificate required for an entry-level job in the tech world. So Kanter's foundation kicked in tuition, ranging up to $3,800 apiece, enabling some of the young workers to earn a Microsoft Certified Professional rating. Within months of receiving Kanter's largesse, one of the grads landed a $45,000-a-year job.