Microsoft’s Employee Giving Program raised a record-breaking $125 million for nonprofits and schools around the world in 2015, including the company match of employee contributions. Our employees increased their support through time, money and talent by $8 million, marking the greatest year-over-year increase in our program’s history.
These results show how, more than ever, Microsoft employees live our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We believe Microsoft Philanthropies rounds out our ability to reach our mission, as well as to reach everyone. In the case of our Employee Giving Program, that means supporting more than 18,000 nonprofits that do invaluable work every day to strengthen communities and better our world. What better time than today to say “thank you” to those nonprofits, and to the many people who work for them. In 2015, these people and organizations improved lives around the world by addressing a wide range of issues, providing shelter for those fleeing wildfires that ravaged portions of the United States, for example, and helping those seeking safety from war-torn regions around the world. They provided mentorships and skills training for at-risk youth, expanded the number of acres of protected forestland, ran nonpartisan civic engagement campaigns and much more.
We celebrate the work of our nonprofit and education partners at the same time as we share our Employee Giving results, because they have inspired Microsoft employees to do more and give more. In fact, this year the participation rate for our Employee Giving Program hit an all-time high of 71 percent. Today we celebrate with our employees as well. We believe that they donate more time, talent and money because our program enables them to help address the causes they care about most. And their giving supported a very broad spectrum of local and global causes, among them humanitarian relief, health, human services and housing, education, arts and culture, agriculture, nutrition and the environment.
Our employees’ volunteer work makes me especially proud. In addition to dedicating a portion of each paycheck to a favorite charity, many employees integrate volunteering into their daily lives. Each volunteer works out what works best for them at various stages in their lives. Some volunteer a few hours a month, as they can, while others are able to dedicate near second shifts as nonprofit volunteers. In total, employees contributed more than 570,000 volunteer hours in 2015.
In addition, our employees’ impact in Washington State – home to Microsoft’s corporate headquarters and more than 42,000 employees – was especially strong this year. Microsoft employees contributed $62 million to more than 4,000 nonprofits that help weave the fabric of our local communities. I’d like to tell you about a few of our volunteers:
- Vanessa Payne, a technical advisor for Bing, and Heidi Fader, a program manager for the Storefronts Web team, volunteered a total of 340 hours in 2015, raising money for the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s. Inspired by a friend’s heroic battle with cancer, Vanessa and Heidi, who are childhood friends, dedicated themselves to the cause in 2013 and have raised more than $104,000 for cancer research so far.
- Nykeesha Davis, a Microsoft human resources associate, volunteered 112 hours in 2015. She led a team of employee volunteers at YWCA of King County, developing six new computer-literacy programs for those served by YWCA’s career development centers. Nykeesha also serves on the board of Communities in Schools of Seattle, which coordinates high school dropout prevention programs. She notes that “the fact that these organizations get money for the time I’m already giving allows me to have a much larger impact financially than I would be able to do otherwise.”
- James Spotanski, a program manager for Excel, logged more than 300 volunteer hours across nine nonprofits in Washington State, including Habitat for Humanity, Northwest Harvest, Hopelink and the United Way of King County. James says Microsoft’s policy of paying nonprofits $25 for each hour an employee volunteers is a tremendous encouragement. “I love my job,” James says, “and I think it’s great that Microsoft emphasizes this kind of community involvement so much.”
As we celebrate the important work of nonprofit organizations and the generosity of our employees, we recognize the need to further empower the nonprofit community. To fulfill our company mission, we, ourselves, need to do more. That’s why we recently announced our expanded commitment to corporate philanthropy with a broader ambition and a new organization, Microsoft Philanthropies. As a first step in the work of Microsoft Philanthropies, we recently committed to donate $1 billion in Microsoft cloud services over the next three years to nonprofits and university researchers, to ensure these organizations have the technology to advance the public good.
As we look forward, our communities and world continue to face many challenges. I know our employees are thinking of how they can help empower nonprofits through their donations of money, time and talent in the year ahead. We’re already working on new ways to grow Microsoft’s culture of giving and investing in strategic partnerships to help deliver the benefits of technology to everyone. We look forward to sharing more about our plans in the months to come.