Well, I spent Friday morning (and part of the afternoon) at the Center for Career Alternatives, down in the Rainier Valley.
I wasn’t going to write about it, but this comment from Mat Hall pushed me over the top (profanity removed)
A lesser man may point out that it's a bit worrying that MSFT only take one day out a year to give a <darn>. :)
I’ve got to say that I take serious offense at that comment. The reality is that Microsoft people take a heck of a lot more than a day to help others. Every year I’ve worked at Microsoft, Microsoft’s sponsored a United Way affiliated giving campaign. Annually Microsoft employees give millions of dollars. In 2003, Microsoft employees gave over $16 million, which was matched by the company for a total of over $32.7 million in cash donations. That’s just the gifts of cash through the Giving Campaign; Microsoft employees give far more than that as individuals.
The “Day of Caring” is a United Way program that gets employees of various companies out in the community helping with various projects. The projects can range from helping to build a house with Habitat for Humanity, to talking to disadvantaged (what a horrible buzzword) youths, to weeding/beach cleanup, to painting, to sewing, etc. There are literally hundreds of projects performed by dozens of companies as a part of the DoC – last year, over 7,000 volunteers from 190 organizations worked on 300 different projects.
All of this doesn’t include the hundreds of hours that are spent on private contributions – individuals donating their time and money to various organizations as private individuals, and not as Microsoft employees.
Microsoft’s dedication to corporate philanthropy goes back to Bill Gates mother, Mary Gates, who was (among other things) the chairman of United Way International. Bill’s been heavily involved in philanthropic ventures for years, and his dedication has trickled down through the rest of the company. Far from being a pack of self-centered millionaires, most of the people here that I know give a significant percentage of their income to charities (10% or more).
So it is a base canard to say that Microsoft people only take one day out of a year to give a darn – most of us spend a lot more than that helping out.