2012 was a busy year. One of the highlights for us was the launch of Microsoft YouthSpark, a new company-wide initiative to create opportunities for 300 million young people over the next three years in education, employment and entrepreneurship. 2012 was also our 30th employee giving campaign and this year Microsoft employees topped $1 billion dollars in giving with corporate match since 1983.

As 2012 comes to a close and we look forward to 2013, here are some of the most popular posts from 2012 on the Citizenship blog.

1. Microsoft YouthSpark: A new chapter in Citizenship at Microsoft

“We believe we must move beyond bridging not only the digital divide but also the opportunity divide for youth -- an emerging gap between young people who have the education, skills and opportunities they need to succeed and those who do not.”

2. Video: A special event for employee giving at Microsoft

“Since 1983 Microsoft employees have raised $1 billion, with corporate match, for over 31,000 nonprofits working around the world.”

3. Meet the Imagine Cup students turned social entrepreneurs

“The Imagine Cup Grants program is a three-year, $3 million competitive grant program to help Imagine Cup participants take their ideas and their projects and transform them into a business or nonprofit that can bring the benefit of their technology to the communities that need it most.”

4. Windows 8 now available for nonprofit donations

“Windows 8 represents a reimagining of Windows. It provides a personalized experience with a beautiful new user interface that puts you at the center.”

5. Did you hear about our 35,500 employee philanthropists?

“Employees like Toby Velte who volunteers at his daughter’s school via EduConnect and teaches students about careers in technology. Toby rallied a team of Microsoft parents to raise money to fund a PC lab in their school district to teach students programming via the Kodu Games Labs.”

6. Youth Stories with a Side of Toast—Reflections from a New York City Breakfast Discussion

“When you help someone else realize their dreams, know that you are also making your own dreams real.”

7. From Seattle to Singapore: How Microsoft is taking lessons from young people

“We must actively enable young people to overcome unique issues that no other generation has faced.”

8. How does a nonprofit use technology to support global operations?

“We view technology as a strategic asset…We’re also embedding technology in our field operations, both to deliver programs and to put technology into people’s hands so they can use it to improve their lives and livelihoods. This is at the heart of achieving sustainable change for the world’s poorest people.”

9. 2012 Microsoft Citizenship Report now available

“The Citizenship Report, in particular, outlines Microsoft’s citizenship goals, progress, and next steps in our responsible work practices and service to communities as part of our company commitment to making a real impact for a better tomorrow everywhere we do business.”

10. Putting a spotlight on the opportunity divide for youth around the world

“At a time when we have more young people – 1.2 billion – than at any time in the planet’s history, there’s an urgent need to provide them with the education, skills and employment opportunities they need to succeed in today’s rapidly changing global economy.”

11. Geena Davis: If Girls Can See It, They Can Be It

“Geena Davis, the first woman president of the United States—on television, that is—spoke to Microsoft employees on Monday about the imbalance of gender in the media and empowering girls and young women.”

12. Girls supporting girls in technology

“In Engineering and Computer Science, female enrollment at the Bachelor’s level is below 20% in Canada (2008-09). That is a shortage of about 31,000 women to balance the gender gap.”