Now that the president and the United Way have teamed up to proclaim that 9/11 shall be honored, each year, with a national day of service and volunteerism, Microsoft jumped onto the band wagon in large numbers.
Thousands of individual Microsoft Employees signed up for our annual Day of Caring activities, a tradition that goes back to the early days when Bill Gate’s mother used to lead the United Way in the Seattle/Redmond area.
I’m proud to be one of them. Many members of the Microsoft IT Technology Office, including CTO Barry Briggs, personally took part in activities to support a local charity that provides trained assistance dogs to handicapped individuals (For more information or to support Summit Assistance Dogs, please see their site at http://www.summitdogs.org/). It was a morning of scrubbing kennels, bathing dogs, general maintenance, and learning about ways that we can support their good efforts.
It was also a chance to get out into the community and show that Microsoft cares. Microsoft’s support for charity is amazing. As an employee, my contributions to non-profit agencies are matched, dollar for dollar, and my volunteer time is even matched with financial contributions from Microsoft. I can submit records of my contributions, or, if I’d like, I can sign up to have automatic deductions from my paycheck made available directly to the charities of my choice (which I do).
That level of support really makes a difference. As a Microsoft employee, I have given more to various charities in the last five years than in all prior years of my career combined. I’m more proud of my employer, on the Day of Caring each year, than at almost any other time.
Microsoft, on days like 9/11, proves to me that it cares about being a good citizen, contributing to the communities around the world where Microsoft can make a difference, and for that, Microsoft earns my respect and praise.