By Lori Harnick, General Manager, Microsoft Citizenship & Public Affairs

You may have heard that October is a busy month at Microsoft this year - but it’s not just about major product launches. This October marks the 30th Microsoft Employee Giving Campaign. It’s a magical time in our offices and campuses across the United States when our people show their passion and commitment to the nonprofits and community groups they support.

Giving is something that’s central to our culture at Microsoft. Full-time, U.S.-based Microsoft employees receive up to $12,000 for matched donations to eligible nonprofits. In 2011, 35,500 employees made donations to support more than 18,000 community organizations across the globe, raising over $100 million with corporate match. Of course the Giving Campaign isn’t just about donating cash, it’s also about donating time and energy. Employee volunteer time at Microsoft is matched $17 per hour to their chosen organization and last year our employees volunteered more than 400,000 hours of their personal time to serving nonprofits in their communities.

The Giving campaign began on Monday and it is well and truly underway. There are events and fundraisers taking place across the country and many of our traditional Giving campaign favorites are generating lots of excitement.

One of the most popular events, and one that’s become a way to celebrate the end of the first week of the Giving campaign, is the 5K run around our campus in Redmond, Washington. It has evolved from a race to a community celebration.   DSC_0126

Today, we had the biggest 5K to date with just under 3,000 people running, jogging and strolling along the course while raising money for their chosen nonprofit.

Over the coming weeks we’ll share some of the color and excitement that we see inside Microsoft every October as our people come together to do good through the Giving Campaign.

You can follow the action on Twitter with the #msftgiving tag.