What does a fully engaged community look like?
I lead Microsoft’s Technology and Civic Engagement team, which partners with hackers, technologists, academics, governments, nonprofits and citizens to build stronger cities through technology. A vibrant city requires engagement from all of these stakeholders, and as our team has grown over the last year, we’ve uncovered new ways to build coalitions and encourage civic innovation. We support groups and events as diverse as Code for America, Chicago’s CityWorks initiative, and Berkeley Center for Law & Technology’s recent symposium on open data and civil rights.
Today, Microsoft will serve as the lead sponsor for Silicon Valley Gives, the second annual online giving day in Silicon Valley. Last year, Silicon Valley Gives raised over $8 million for 650 local nonprofits. Perhaps even more impressively, 15,000 individuals donated during the 24-hour online event.
One way to reconfigure the scale of Silicon Valley Gives is to think of the crowdfunding event as one massive partnership with a broad group of stakeholders:
- Silicon Valley Community Foundation leads the project.
- Razoo built an online giving platform to manage the transactions.
- More than 850 Silicon Valley nonprofits serve the community and participate in the day.
- More than 50 donors – including corporations, foundations, local sports teams, media, individuals, and families – have rallied to provide $3.7 million in prizes and matching grants to increase donations.
- Thousands of Silicon Valley residents donate to local causes.
- Hundreds of thousands of Silicon Valley residents benefit from the work of the nonprofits.
The work of Silicon Valley Gives won’t end once the 24 hours are up: our Technology and Civic Engagement team will take what we’ve learned to a conference we’re sponsoring later this month at Stanford University’s Digital Civil Society Lab, where an international group of academics and philanthropists will consider how to apply the principles of crowdfunding to civic issues.
For over 30 years, Microsoft has been a fully engaged community member, supporting the crucial work of nonprofits through our technology, our resources and our employee engagement program. We’re leveraging all of those strengths to support Silicon Valley Gives. Over the last few months, we’ve held training sessions on our campus for over 600 nonprofit representatives to help them prepare and strategize, and we’re also hosting celebrations today at our local Microsoft retail stores.
Today, the entire ecosystem of Silicon Valley will ignite in support of our community’s needs and the incredible nonprofits working to address them. Microsoft proudly stands with this coalition: a fully engaged company supporting a fully engaged community.