January, 2011

  • Employee volunteering program protects children online in Belgium

     

    Laurence Verriest, Community Affairs Lead, Microsoft Belgium.

    Child Focus is a Belgian NGO that has been working tirelessly to protect children online for many years. Microsoft has collaborated with Child Focus for the last four years and has been training children and teachers in schools around Belgium on internet safety. As one of the volunteers at Microsoft I am particularly proud that this long term partnership and the valuable work of Child Focus undertakes.

    Microsoft has a long standing commitment to keeping the internet safe for children. In Belgium, as part of this commitment, we decided to devote our Employee Volunteering Program, which offers three volunteering days per year to employees, to child online safety. We noticed, during discussions with our NGO partner, Child Focus, and other stakeholders (NGO’s, FCCU, government agencies and universities), that teachers still don’t feel confident bringing the subject of Internet Safety in class. So in 2009, we decided to provide Microsoft employees with the opportunity to volunteer to provide Safer Internet Training in primary and secondary schools for children between the ages of 8-13. Microsoft worked with Child Focus to develop a specific training pack explaining why the Internet is fun and useful, but also covering the potential dangers such as privacy, spam, cyber bullying etc.

    Microsoft trains employee volunteers and matches them with schools where they give e-safety lesson in class. The program has proved incredibly popular, and we have seen a strong growth in demand from schools. To meet this demand we’ve extended the program to include our partner, Getronics, in the initiative, which is helping us to reach an even greater number of children.

    In our last fiscal year - July 2009 to June 2010 65 Getronics employees and 101 Microsoft employees – a full third of our employees - trained over 10,000 children in schools all over the country.

    But more important than the numbers, the training has been very effective, in the words of a teacher from Cardinal Mercier in Braine L’alleud: “We would like to thank Microsoft Belux and everyone concerned in this project, for the training you provided to our pupils on the dangers of the Internet. We would like to thank Mister Van Mollekot and Cremers who brought 7 sessions with professionalism and passion for 12 classes. The pupils and the teachers learned a lot! Could you come back in June to train the other classes?”

    In the words of one colleague “I was delighted to have participated in the volunteering day. It was enriching from both a human and professional point of view. It was a real moment of realization in understanding the daily challenges for our users! It was surprising, uplifting and what a pleasure to hear their perspective”

    In December 2010 Microsoft Belux was honored to have the incredible work of Child Focus and the Internet Safety program recognized with the “European Union Employee Volunteering Award for Belgium”. This competition recognizes companies for their employee engagement initiatives and is organized by the European Commission and coordinated by Business & Society for Belgium. Microsoft was selected by an independent jury that included representatives from the University of Antwerp, the Flemish employment agency, Network for Training and Entrepreneurship and HR Tribune magazine. The award ceremony was attended by 100 people from both public and private sector, NGOs and academia.   John Macdonald, head of task force for the European Year at the European Commission delivered the opening address while a panel discussion on the role of employee volunteering included the CEO of Deloitte Belgium, ING Belgium, PWC and Freshfields, and Xavier Lamote from Microsoft.

    Pictured at the presentation of the European Union Employee Volunteering Award for Belgium are Ellen Stassart, Child Focus; Mieke Kennof, Business Manager Microsoft Belux; Laurence Verriest, Community Affairs Manager Microsoft Belux; Xavier Lamote, BMO Director Microsoft Belux and Rudi Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of VBO/FEB the federation of business in Belgium

    Microsoft will now participate in the European finalist contest in March 2011.

    The Employee Volunteering Program is an excellent opportunity for our employees to develop their personal skills and be ambassadors of our Citizenship programs. As one of the volunteers at Microsoft I am particularly proud that this long term partnership and the valuable work of Child Focus has been recognized in this way.

     

    Laurence Verriest manages Microsoft’s community affairs programs in Belgium.

  • Nonprofit donation management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 now available

    Donation Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011has been posted to the Dynamics Marketplace.

    Donation Management is available in English for the U.S. and Canada right now, and we’re gauging interest levels outside North America.

    Though this is branded as a “version 1.0”, in fact the solution builds upon our previous work in the not-for-profit space – formerly known as the “Not for Profit Accelerator” or the “Charity Accelerator”. The older NfP Accelerator is in use by museums, charities, and public broadcasting corporations across North America. Where the former accelerator was restricted to CRM Online, this version works across CRM Online, on-premises, and partner-hosted. It’s now available at no charge for customers of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 or as part of the on-going $9.99/user/month not-for-profit pricing for CRM Online in the United States. Also, you may remember the Dynamics Marketplace from a blog article in 2010.

    Find out more information at:http://crm.dynamics.com/ngo.

  • Elevate Veterans Sweepstakes Winners Announced

    U.S. Air Force Veteran having fun with Kinect for Xbox 360 at the USO  of New York.

    During Veterans Week 2010, thousands of tweets poured out in support of U.S. Military veterans. The message was an important one, “Help Elevate America’s Veterans”! Microsoft’s Elevate America Veterans initiative helps veterans and their spouses acquire the skills and resources they need to be successful in today’s workplace. To help get the word out, we launched a sweepstakes that gave U.S. military veterans the chance to win a brand new Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect.

    We would like to send a huge thank you to over 700 veterans who took the time to enter.

    We are thrilled to announce the winners:

    James Sveen (@sandsqwid)

    John (Corey) Miller (@MacM25)

    Debbi DeSisto (@liberalgoddess)

    Joe Justice (@justiceimages)

    Randall McGrew (@rrmcgrew)

    Stephanie Salazar-Navarro (@Stephaliciosa)

    Erick Lopez (@sgtlopez)

    Chad Syner (@BayouDad)

    Matthew Wilson (@matthewnwilson)

    Timothy Ogier (@ogiert)

    Chad Alexander (@AbuAlice)

    Heath (Timmy) Milliron (@Intimidator_v2)

    Kenneth Weyrauch (@GatorKen81)

    Congratulations to all the winners, enjoy your new Xbox 360 4GB consoles with Kinect and be sure to tag Microsoft Citizenship in some pictures for us on Facebook! And again, thank you to EVERYONE for showing your support for our military veterans.

    Through Elevate America Veterans initiative, vets can utilize the following resources:

    · Career counseling

    · Technology skills training

    · Other job training resources

    · Job placement

    · Additional support services (for example, childcare, transportation, and housing)

    For more information, please visit the Elevate Veterans page. For more on Microsoft Citizenship please visit our homepage.

  • Addressing social and economic issues in Asia

    There are three fairly standard reactions I receive when I am telling people about the work Microsoft is undertaking with Governments and community partners to improve lives and drive national competitiveness and first up is usually surprise! I find people are generally unaware of the breadth and depth of work we are doing at a grass roots level in areas such as access to technology, skills training, disaster response and the fight against human trafficking. They are also generally surprised by the amount of this work being undertaken specifically in Asia Pacific.

    Second reaction is usually admitting they had never thought of technology having such impact outside the technology sector. People rarely think of the technology inside robotics that increases productivity in manufacturing or technology to allow Governments to better plan and deliver services to their constituents. Technology to most people is the IT Manager doing and IT job when they start to see the demonstrations as to how technology is improving hospitals and saving lives they are genuinely surprised.

    The third reaction is along the lines of "I know a person or organisation that could benefit from one of those programs and I will have to let them know about it”. So as 2010 was drawing to a close we decided it was time to try and spread the word and showcase the work not only of Microsoft but also of our community and Government partners across the region.

    A two-day event - the inaugural Accelerating Asia Pacific 2010 – was launched on December 14 to share what we stand for and are investing in across Asia Pacific. The event attracted more than 55 journalists and analysts representing local newspapers, industry publications, international news wires, and other regional press.

    Opened by the newly announced Area Vice President for Asia Pacific (and former Country Manager for Australia) Tracey Fellows, the morning session was followed by Orlando Ayala, Corporate Vice President, Chairman of Emerging Markets, Chief Advisor to the COO, who delivered a keynote address on “National Competitiveness - Asia in the Global Context” discussing the important role of cloud computing in the context of national competitiveness and the way in which the IT industry drives both social and economic impact for local economies. 

    Tracey Fellows, Area Vice President for Asia Pacific at Microsoft addresses the Summit

    Over the course of the first day, the audience heard stories about how technology and Microsoft’s partnerships are having an impact on addressing societal issues like, child safety, education, workforce development and disaster response.

    Bindu Sharma, Policy Director, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), Singapore making a point during the Technology to Protect Those Most Vulnerable session during the summit which highlighted how technology can drive major scientific breakthroughs and help solve some of the world's most pressing societal issues such as child online safety. The discussion covered how technology can track online predators and the importance of the first 24 - 48 hours when a child goes missing. Also pictured are Bindu’s fellow panelists Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, Founder & President, Visayan Forum Foundation, Philippines and Deborah Henry, Founder, Save Education Centre, Malaysia.

    On the second day of the event, speakers showcased ways in which Microsoft solutions are enabling the healthcare, education and defence sectors to deliver services to the public and how government are using technology to raise their economic productivity and national competitiveness.   All up the event comprised of more than 40 speakers from within Microsoft, our non-profit partners, government and industry.

    If you would like to see more videos of all the presentations and demonstrations are available for viewing here.

  • Survey finds that consumers expect public-private partnership

    Things are underway here in Davos at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum and an interesting theme seems to be emerging.

    That theme is trust – trust in institutions – government, business, the media and NGOs.

    PR firm Edelman has been measuring trust for 11 years and earlier this week I attended the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer launch. While this year’s survey finds overall trust in business and government holding steady from last year, Americans are far less trusting of business in the United States. In fact, while the 2010 survey showed an 18 point increase in trust in business, this year business fell back and now only 5 points higher than the country with the least trust in business, Russia. Contrast that slide with Brazil and Germany which saw double digit increases in the trust in business.

    According to the report, “in the early years of the survey, trust in business and government tended to move in opposite directions. Increased trust in one was met by decreased trust in the other. We generally now see the two moving in tandem, an important step as the expectation is for the world’s two dominant institutions to work together.”

    NGOs, which are often seen as the honest brokers of information, gained significantly this year and are now trusted as much or more than business in 16 of the 23 countries surveyed.

    Since I work for the world’s largest software company, I was pleased to hear that for the third straight year, the technology industry ranked #1 as the most trusted industry. This is in stark contrast to banks which again ranks at the bottom of this year’s survey.

    While I have only highlighted a few of the survey takeaways, it provides an interesting backdrop for talking a bit about our approach to corporate citizenship here at Microsoft.

    Clearly, those surveyed are expecting institutions to work together to address global challenges. At Microsoft, we have extended our existing business partnership model to our Citizenship work by partnering with various stakeholders - NGOs, government and business - to tackle a range of economic and social challenges while staying focused on increasing our business value and meeting the expectations of our shareholders.

    Through partnerships, based on mutual trust, respect and accountability, we have worked hard to address some of society’s most challenging issues – from education to accessibility to online privacy to humanitarian relief. A good example is our Elevate America program – a partnership with 32 states and the District of Columbia to provide IT skills training opportunities to the unemployed. We also work with educators and NGOs to help parents and children to practice safety online and have built a long term relationship with NetHope in providing technology support and infrastructure in the face of large scale humanitarian disasters. Partnership is core to our approach to meeting our responsibilities as a corporate citizen.

    If there is one takeaway for me from the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer it is that sectorial boundaries will continue blur as members of civil society demand cross sector collaboration, engagement and partnership. While some may resist, this is the new reality, they will do so at their own peril.

    For more information on our Citizenship work, please visit our homepage.

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