Employee giving changes lives, for a lifetime…

Suveen Reddy is passionate about volunteering.

Shortly after joining Microsoft in 2001, Suveen, a senior program manager, visited his grandparents’ rural farming village in India. While spending time with family, he learned about their friend, Madhava, whose vision rapidly deteriorated into near blindness. He could no longer take care of daily responsibilities on his farm.

“Though he was only 55, his family thought his vision was deteriorating because of old age,” Suveen said. “I paid him a visit and talked to his family, but they didn’t have the money to take him to the hospital.”

The next day, Suveen took Madhava to the hospital and learned from a doctor that he had cataracts. The vision impairment was correctible with a simple, inexpensive surgery. Suveen paid for the procedure and days later, Madhava could not only see again, but soon returned to his duties on the farm.

“When I talked to him afterwards he was so joyful and happy,” Suveen recalled. After returning to the United States, he began to ask himself, “How can I replicate the same success with other people, across other villages?”

A man has his eyes screened in a rural village in Andhra Pradesh, India.

A man has his eyes screened in a rural village in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Today, Suveen leads the Seattle chapter of the Sankara Eye Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing and treating cataract-induced blindness in India. Through Microsoft’s Employee Giving Program, Suveen was introduced to Sankara as an opportunity to get involved and make a difference. Since founding the Seattle chapter in 2003, Suveen has propelled their annual fundraising from about $4,000 to more than $200,000. This year, the Sankara Eye Foundation surpassed 1.3 million cataract surgeries in India, a figure undoubtedly accelerated by the help of Suveen and his chapter’s team of employee volunteers from Microsoft.

Suveen’s story and the stories of employees like him across the company are what inspire our employees to continue Microsoft’s tradition of giving.

Our people give generously throughout the year and in 2014, they raised a record-breaking $117 million for nonprofits and schools around the world. Today marks the kickoff of Microsoft’s Employee Giving Campaign, our annual celebration to inspire volunteerism and support our communities.

Throughout October, we make it easy for employees to get involved and actively support the causes they care about.

  1. In the U.S., Microsoft matches employee cash donations dollar-for-dollar and also the time that employees volunteer in the community, at $25 per hour up to a total of $15,000 per year.
  2. We help connect employees with nonprofits that need volunteers. This also includes technical and skills-based volunteering through our Tech Talent for Good initiative.
  3. We inspire participation through a variety of campus events to help employees learn more about various nonprofits and donate through fundraising events led by their peers that create a fun environment to get involved and learn how to help.

Our calendar is filled with events and activities on our campuses across the U.S. and internationally. Here in Redmond, Washington, employees have the opportunity to take part in a month-long cricket tournament or lace up their tennis shoes for a 5K walk/run. These activities represent a handful of the hundreds that are taking place throughout the month and driven by our employees.

In fact, whether it’s worldwide or here at our headquarters, this is the time of year that we see first-hand how deeply engrained giving is in our company’s DNA. In 1983, 200 Microsoft employees raised $17,000 for nonprofits, and a tradition was born. Now, as we aspire to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, our employee giving program plays a key role, generating more than $100 million in donations of time and money — each year — to nearly 20,000 nonprofits worldwide.

We look forward to sharing more about the impact our employees will make, changing lives for a lifetime, one person at a time. Please follow us at #MSFTGiving.