by Jenni Flinders, Vice President, Microsoft US Partner Group
Communities are at the core of how we change the world. We have seen many times over the last few years how strength in numbers somehow makes us better as individuals. We know this to be true as members of the Microsoft Partner Network, where our businesses rely on, learn from, and grow through interacting with each another. The spirit of community fuels these mutually beneficial relationships with one another, culminating in success for everyone.
As a business community, we have to pay it forward to the communities in which we work. From its earliest days as a company, Microsoft has placed a high value on supporting education within our communities based upon a belief that empowered citizens contribute to a better quality of life for all.
Recently, my team took steps toward this goal in Seattle, Chicago, and Charlotte, NC, with a Back-to-School Backpacks Program. As part of our internal team connection meeting in September, we filled up 110 backpacks with school supplies and then donated those backpacks, plus additional supplies, to deserving students at schools in these cities.
“Giving” at Microsoft often means more than simply writing a check. It often also involves hands-on volunteering, which is exactly how our teams pulled these donations off: employees filled the backpacks and wrote notes to the students to wish them a successful school year. The backpacks were then distributed to a school in each of the chosen cities by local Microsoft employees.
The simple act of giving back is so rewarding, and it has nothing to do with the number of backpacks filled or any other quantifiable measure. When community giving is part of your culture, it fosters a positive work environment where employees connect with one another by working toward a common goal—one that’s bigger than ourselves, bigger than business, and bigger than the material things that concern us every day. That goal is community.
I would love to hear your stories about how your business gives back, or how you plan to start paying it forward. Share your ideas here or follow me on Twitter @Jenni_Flinders because—as part of the Microsoft community—we can all inspire one another to meet our giving potential.