October, 2010

  • Everyone can make a difference in their local community

    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.

    Microsoft Volunteers holding a poster they received after a day’s work at the Beacon Hill International School during the United Way Day of Caring.

    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.

  • Citizenship in Times Square

    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 mcitizen@microsoft.com.

  • Microsoft’s 2010 Citizenship Report Released

    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: mcitizen@microsoft.com.

    You can review the 2010 Citizenship report online and you can also download a copy here.

  • Telling the refugee story with technology

    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.

  • Microsoft's month of Giving kicks off

    It’s a long standing tradition at Microsoft, that each October our employees come together and combine their energy, generosity and creativity to raise money for nonprofits and causes. The Giving campaign is a month long opportunity for our people to get involved and make a difference in their local community. We all know that 2009 was a tough economic year. When we started planning last year’s Giving campaign we expected that the fundraising would be impacted, but we were wrong. In a difficult economic climate our employees dug deep and exceeded our own internal goals, raising over $80 million for nonprofits around the United States. I was personally amazed to see this result.

    A year later, we’re ready to start again with the 2010 employee Giving Campaign. Once again our people across the United States are working hard to come up with creative ways to encourage one another to donate money and volunteer time to charities. There are over 300 events planned from a 5K run (or walk, if you prefer); to an internal auction site where employees can bid for over 300 different items (last year’s favourite was a giant baloney sandwich, this year one of our executives is offering to have his head shaved over LiveMeeting); football; poker; ping pong; and foosball tournaments and much much more. The proceeds of these employee events will be matched by Microsoft dollar for dollar, and distributed to nonprofits.

    The campaign was kicked off last Sunday with a soccer clinic that had three Sounders coaching and sharing tips with over 180 excited Microsoft kids (and their equally excited parents). The proceeds of the event will go to non-profit Soccer Saves.

    Of course it’s not just about fundraising, as Kevin mentioned in his post about the Day of Giving, it’s also about people giving their time to the causes and groups closest to their hearts.

    I’ve worked in this company for more than six years, and there are countless reasons I feel proud to be a part of it. None, however, makes me prouder than the giving spirit of the thousands of people I call colleagues. "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no person can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves", the poet Emerson once said. I think this season of giving helps all of us - giver and receiver.

    We’ll share our progress with you throughout the month.

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