Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday -- they help us score deals on the holiday gifts we give one another, but at Microsoft Silicon Valley, we’re just as excited about what happens today. It’s GivingTuesday, a day when – as families, businesses and individuals – we’re encouraged to turn our focus from what we can buy at the store to what we can give back to our community this giving season.

Community investment is an integral part of Microsoft’s DNA. In October, Microsoft celebrated its 30th Employee Giving Campaign, which Microsoft supports by matching employee volunteer time at $17 per hour and dollar-for-dollar charitable contributions to all eligible nonprofits, up to $12,000 per employee. The Silicon Valley campus reached record participation this year with 83 percent of employees contributing to their favorite charities.

Microsoft employees volunteering with Hands on Bay Area

And we try to make it easy as possible by bringing giving activities right to our employees. Recently, several groups of Microsoft employee volunteers gathered at the Silicon Valley campus to build a total of 752 science kits, which one of our nonprofit partners, Hands on Bay Area, will distribute to local educators.

We find that when employees put in sweat equity and actively give, they become especially passionate about their chosen charitable cause or organization. Employees who participated in the science kit building events echo that sense of commitment:

  • Steve Tung: “It is truly inspiring to see your peers, management, and executives place community outreach as the number one priority, regardless of our business-related tasks and responsibilities.”
  • Sarah Ferrero: “Knowing how much more valuable my volunteering has become gives me an added incentive to make sure I donate what I can. The community we live in is defined by its members, which means that any changes we want to see need to start with us.”
  • Oner Onder: “Microsoft not only supports the giving campaign by matching volunteer hours and donations, but it also provides…opportunities for people to find…where the need is. Not every company has this much impact on the communities they work in.”

What are you giving this Giving Tuesday? And how can you keep it going all year round? The official Giving Tuesday site offers lots of resources to help you get you, your family or your business involved…so get out and give!