October is a magical month at Microsoft. There’s a sense of something powerful happening. There are clues everywhere, such as the frantic bidding for the (often quirky) items in the online auction and the brochures in the kitchens seeking submissions for the annual cat calendar. Or the thousands of employees and their families who take to the streets around our headquarters to participate in the 5k run.

The signs are different but the outcome is always the same – millions of dollars raised to help people in real need.

October is the time when employees on our Redmond campus and in offices across the U.S. unleash their creativity and passion to raise funds for nonprofit and community organizations in their home towns and around the world. This year is our 30th Employee Giving Campaign and today we announced that our U.S. employees have raised $1 billion in cash for more than 31,000 nonprofit and community organizations since the start of the campaign. It is an amazing milestone!

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Chairman and Founder Bill Gates commemorated Microsoft’s 30th Employee Giving Campaign during a special town hall event today and announced that Microsoft employees have raised $1 billion in cash since 1983 for more than 31,000 nonprofits and community organizations in the U.S. and around the world. Redmond, Wash. — Oct. 18, 2012.

The Employee Giving Campaign is emblematic of two of Microsoft’s core values: our respect and appreciation for our employees and our dedication to serving the communities where we live and work. Indeed, thirty years ago, 200 employees took the first step in our citizenship work by raising $17,000. We’ve been following their lead ever since.

Not only is our Giving Campaign one of the world's largest employee giving programs, we believe it sets us apart. It’s an integral component of our culture, and is one of the many reasons people come to work here. Microsoft employees want to make a difference in the world, and we’re delighted to support their giving to the causes and organizations they care about most.

We deeply thank our employees for their amazing generosity, which grows year after year. We are proud of them. And we honor our nonprofit and community partners for their incredible impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the world. We are inspired by them and humbled to serve by their side.

Posted by Lisa Brummel, Chief People Officer & Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft