Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
The UNHCR is exploring new ways of using technology to share the impact of their work.
One example is this picture of a girl from Bosaso, Somalia.
When you visit the UNHCR site you can zoom in to the picture to reveal a mosaic of over 2,000 different images from the UNHCR’s incredible work.
It uses Microsoft’s Deep Zoom technology.
Read a good book lately? If not, try “Social Responsibilities of Business Corporations. Sorry to disappoint you Kindle and Nook junkies but it likely isn’t available for download since it was published in 1971. Amazing isn’t it? Corporate Social Responsibility (we call it Corporate Citizenship here at Microsoft), isn’t a new millennium-generation-unique concept and it isn’t something just the Ben and Jerry’s of the world think about
My partner, an ice cream junkie, will buy Ben and Jerry’s every time. Sure, the wild concoction of flavors has something to do with it but the company’s commitment to “doing good” is his real driver. He trusts Ben and Jerry’s because they combine good flavor with doing good.
We all tend to trust people and institutions we see as “doing good” but sadly we are currently facing a global trust crisis. A lack of trust among individuals, between and within governments and certainly a lack of trust in corporations.
Microsoft recently released our 2010 Annual Report – as a publicly held company we have been issuing these reports since going public in 1986. What is different this year is that we released our Microsoft 2010 Citizenship Report at the same time. Why should stakeholders - investors, public officials, consumers, advocates, the media - only get half the story? These reports bring you inside Microsoft.
I sure hope you will take the time to read the report, and learn more about our Citizenship efforts. We work in partnership with a variety of private, public and nonprofit sector organizations to train people for 21st century jobs, help teachers gain the computer skills they need to succeed in the classroom, inspire students and develop software with significantly improved energy efficiency. I am proud of our progress.
As a company, we have signed up for a lot. We have endorsed the UN Millennium Development Goals and the UN Global Compact and you can see how we’re doing in meeting those commitments in this report. We’re also reporting using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework – to help readers evaluate our progress against that of other companies.
We need to do better in some really important areas – such as: reducing the carbon footprint of our operations; realizing our rock solid commitment to diversity and inclusion; and, driving greater accountability and responsibility across our supply chain. However, I believe we are presenting a balanced report.
Corporate Citizenship (Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR or whatever you call it) is a journey not a destination. I would love to hear your views on our report, e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can review the 2010 Citizenship report online and you can also download a copy here.
Earlier Dan posted how this is the first time we have released our Citizenship report at the same time as our Annual Financial Report to provide a more holistic view of the work underway around Microsoft. One of the added benefits of this coordination was seeing our 2010 Citizenship report on the famous NASDAQ billboard in Times Square.
You can read the report online or download it here.
If you have any feedback on the report please e-mail us at email@example.com.
One of the biggest days of the year for employee community engagement at Microsoft is United Way of King County’s Day of Caring. Last Friday, September 24, over 10,000 friends, neighbors, colleagues and citizens volunteered in their communities around King County to assist non-profits and individual’s in need. More than half the volunteers were Microsoft employees - participating in over 200 projects at 150 nonprofit organizations, parks, and schools - stacking up a total of 30,000 labor hours in one day. As I worked through the day alongside colleagues, I constantly heard people saying that this was their favorite day of the year and I agreed every time. I’ve never been prouder of the impact we are able to make as employees in our local community.
Volunteers chose which of the 200 community projects to participate in using the United Way volunteering website and I got the opportunity to join over 300 volunteers from various companies and non-profit agencies at the Community Resource Exchange. This event brought together volunteers and service providers to provide support and resources to more than 2,300 homeless individuals and families. I arrived at the venue at 7am, and found many volunteers already there, preparing for the 9am start and serving coffee to our guests, some of whom had started lining up outside from the day before. The CEO from United Way, Jon Fine, and our General Counsel and Co-chair of the United Way Campaign, Brad Smith, kicked off the event, setting the stage for the day and thanking everyone for sharing their time and skills with those less fortunate.
An entire wing of Qwest Field had been dedicated to the event – the scale was truly amazing – which provided healthcare, social services, food, clothing, haircuts, foot washing, free e-mail and phone, and many other resources. The event was a great collaborative effort to show people they have not been forgotten. I spent most of the day assisting guests find the services they cared about most, or just having incredible conversations. Personally speaking, it was a humbling experience to realize that a few factors in life, many of which are outside our control, were the only things that separated the volunteers and guests.
The one thing guest and volunteer alike shared that day was perhaps a feeling of hope. Everyone should be proud to be part of this amazing day of unity and action, and the positive impact we continue to have. The turnout for this year’s Day of Caring was one of the biggest ever, and it illustrates that everyone can have a real, positive and tangible impact on their local community.
Kevin Espirito is the manager of employee community engagement at Microsoft.
Last week I was in NY for the Clinton Global Initiative and this week I am in Washington, DC attending the Business Civic Leadership Center Global Corporate Citizenship Conference. There have been many conversations about global development – from the status of the MDGs to the role of capitalism. I want to share my thoughts in an attempt to focus on the positive and the opportunities at hand.
First of all, with regard to community investment and development programs, one thing is very clear. We will never go back to normal as we have defined it in the past. The current economic and political environments are fundamentally shifting the dynamics of how we determine our future. And we must embrace that change.
I believe that this is the moment everyone in the development community – businesses, governments, international donors, NGOs and individuals - is called upon to embrace change, chart a new path, and become more relevant to the communities they serve. I believe there are a number of common elements that can lead to positive change.
1. Be Innovative. You cannot continue doing business the old way. You need to look past the surface symptoms and identify systemic changes that need to be made. You have to look for new cutting edge solutions. Let us learn from social entrepreneurs, who are developing hybrid models to implement fundamental and long-lasting changes. Slow Money is an example of alternative financing mechanism where some organizations are designing new capital markets built not around extraction and consumption but around preservation and restoration of the economy.
2. Be Relevant. Be a part of solutions that address needs effectively and make sense. Help design and deliver new solutions in a manner relevant to your business, organization mission and community. The Council on Foundations and Business Civic Leadership Center on whose Boards I serve, are leading the way in creating an environment where our collective voices can be heard. TechSoup an organization based in San Francisco that serves the nonprofit community is engaging in this dialogue so that technology access is combined with human and organizational capacity support so that nonprofits and libraries are utilizing technology for greater scale and impact.
3. Be Visible. This is the time to be out and about. You must show that you are engaged and accessible, and that you are involved with people, issues and the community. Get out there and share best-practices with other organizations across sectors. Also, learn to be visible in new ways that weren’t around even a few years ago. Utilize social media tools to involve a much larger audience around solutions. Kiva, for example, is sharing over 50 million dollars through individual contributors to micro-entrepreneurs around the world.
4. Be Transparent. We all need to be much more transparent in our decision making process. Newer organizations are positioning themselves in unique ways to serve the community and address development issues. We can all learn from each other. Utilize the web much more extensively to share your results and funding priorities. Technology can play a key role in transparency. Seattle Foundation just launched its new website which has garnered much interest around the use of technology to increase transparency.
5. Be Collaborative. We need to learn to work together and maximize limited resources, but at the same time be a careful that in the effort to drive collaboration and consensus, you do not promote inactivity. Be collaborative, but don’t get stuck in indecision. This is the time to bring people together to solve big problems and work together toward solutions. Cross-sector collaboration is becoming more and more critical in effectively reaching the individuals and organizations that need our help the most. Take Microsoft’s Elevate America as an example where we have worked in close partnership with private, public and community organizations to accelerate the workforce readiness of individuals across the United States.
6. Be Focused. It’s easy in this type of economy to become absorbed in reductions and constraints. However, the most important task the development community can perform is to stay focused on end goals and look at ways you can scale the impact most effectively. Teach for America is using the economic downturn to scale up their recruitment efforts to get talented young people to go into the teaching carriers.
7. Be Risk-takers. We must be ready to take risks, and in some cases embrace failure, all the while remaining careful not to overextend. Build on solid foundations. This is one of the greatest contributions the private sector has to offer. This is the basic difference between philanthropy and venture capitalism – the freedom to take risks. We must seek innovative partnerships with social entrepreneurs and businesses to move into fields that traditional philanthropy cannot reach on its own. Pepsi Refresh is an initiative that was risky but has been very successful.
8. Be Geeky. Use technology to your advantage. Technology adoption is critical, and it is not just about efficiency, it is also about changing our approach and discovering innovation. Technology can play a key role in helping you reinvent yourselves for the next “normal.” It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of technology solutions that are out there. But there are many great examples of organizations that are using technology very effectively. Year Up is a program that brings at-risk youth into the IT and IT-services industry under direct partnership with employers.
9. Be [the] Change. This economic downturn is hopefully nearing an end, but it will undoubtedly unleash lasting shifts in our thinking and our approach. Recessions of this magnitude don’t just reduce economic output - they change it in ways that are unpredictable. To be successful, companies, teams, and individuals will need to adapt. I challenge each and every one of us to work on identifying and embracing the changes that are needed to survive and indeed thrive.
We have arrived at a point where we now have all of the resources needed to provide the basic needs for all humankind. There should be no food shortage, every child could be educated, health care should be available to all and shelter should not be an issue. Yet it is not so. What legacy are we preparing to leave behind? Today, right now, we can all commit to embracing change. All we have to do is to look into ourselves and utilize our education, our smarts and our beliefs to make a difference. Nothing else will do.
Julie Lloyd also blogged about this talk in a post: Moving beyond Partnership for Partnership’s sake.
Our mission is to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.
Explore the positive impact of local programs promoted and supported by Microsoft around the world.
News, perspectives and analysis on legal and policy issues.
© 2012 Microsoft
| Privacy Statement | Connect With Us