Saturday, June 27 dawned clear and bright, after what seemed like an eternal Spring of rain in Chicago. As I walked to Daley Plaza to greet the rest of Team Microsoft volunteers, I reflected on what is the motivation that brings people together, to give up a beautiful Saturday during the busy month of June, to get dirty fingernails and dirty clothes, participating in activities that you probably wouldn’t do at home. This day is different than the typical way most people in the Tech industry spend their volunteering time. Usually, we act as coaches or mentors with students; or we donate software and devices and help nonprofits figure out how to use the technology. Or, we sit on a nonprofit board or advisory council and provide counsel on the future of the industry and help map out a strategy.
But this day, with Chicago Cares, we are blissfully, happily and energetically very low-tech. And there is something that makes this kind of volunteering feel even better—we come together as a team, we pitch in with skills that are not how we spend our business day, and when the day is over, we have produced an incredible, colorful, clean, and improved schoolyard and building for Chicago Public Schools students to enjoy. Tweets are flying, cell phones are snapping group photos, and the bus is headed back to Daley Plaza for a grand celebration. We create community in giving back. Now that is what caring is all about.
— Shelley Stern Grach
Chicago Cares! And we’re proud to help demonstrate that Microsoft does too. This weekend, we joined the organization’s 22nd annual Serve-a-thon — marking Microsoft’s 14th year with Chicago Cares! Employees from various business groups and stores joined together (alongside some family and friends) to create a powerhouse of 5,000 volunteers at Chicago’s largest day of service. Along with other businesses and individual volunteers, we helped tackle 30 projects across Chicago Public Schools and community parks. The Microsoft team focused on Scott Joplin Elementary School, where we took part in painting, landscaping, cleaning, doing murals, and building benches.
We were thrilled to join this venture in making Chicago a better community and can’t wait to volunteer with Chicago Cares again. It’s a privilege to partner with this iconic organization.
Want to help us bring Chicago forward? Find future volunteer opportunities with Chicago Cares here.