Each fall, Microsoft employees participate in the Giving Campaign, a month-long series of events in which they focus on raising money for a variety of nonprofits.
Last year, during the Giving Campaign, which takes place in October, the company had announced that in the 30-year history of the employee giving program, employees had raised $1 billion for more than 31,000 nonprofits worldwide. That figure includes the company match, in which Microsoft matches what an employee gives, up to $12,000 per year.
This year, the company announced it’s upping its matching funds to $15,000 for each employee, and giving newly hired Microsoft employees a $50 donation to a nonprofit of their choice.
While the employee giving program runs year-round, the month-long Giving Campaign features specific, usually fun, activities to raise money for charities. Among those activities is an annual auction, which this year raised $900,000 — up from last year’s auction total of $800,000.
This year’s auction items included:
- Guaranteed entry in the 2014 New York City marathon, without having to qualify, along with a customized training program and breakfast with actor Anthony Edwards (of “ER” fame). The entrant will be running on the Shoe4Africa team. (Nonprofits are allowed some guaranteed entries for people running to raise money for the charities.)
- Breakfast at Woodland Park Zoo with twin sloth bear cubs. The cubs were born last December. (See below for a video of the cubs.)
- Running the scoreboard for the Mariners at an upcoming game.
- Naming a Microsoft campus street after yourself. (Last year, Microsoft employee Damit Senanayake bid $1,573 to have the street named after himself. Senanayake Way will be renamed in this year’s winner’s honor, starting in 2014.)
- Personal Microsoft Shuttle Service for 2014, with the ability to book the shuttle ahead of time and not having to share it.
Microsoft plans to announce next February how much its employees raised throughout this year. In the meantime, Microsoft’s human resources director Lisa Brummel wrote in a blog post that employees are on track to beat last year’s donation.
And, for your Friday viewing pleasure, here’s a video of the twin sloth bear cubs (via Woodland Park Zoo‘s maternity den cam and complete with cub noises via a zoo baby monitor):