Yesterday was the last day of the annual Microsoft Giving Campaign Auction, and tomorrow is the last day of the Giving Campaign as a whole. An all-employee email from Bill Gates reminding us of this latter fact provides some fodder for reflection. In his mail, BillG reflects that while the first Giving Campaign, in 1983, raised US$17,000, in 2005, Microsoft employees contributed more than US$68,000,000. That is simply amazing.
I have my own little rituals around this time of the corporate year as I reflect upon the abundant blessings of my life:
- I increase my "Giving" payroll deduction, which is currently split between Cocoon House (for whose team I play in the annual Baseball Challenge) and Childhaven.
- I make a donation to the auction. This year, in my guise as Tunes In The Corner, I donated three evenings of one-man-band, have-guitar-will-travel acoustic music. When the company match is taken into account, these events will raise almost $500 for the United Way of King County.
- I bid on something in the auction and strive to win it. This year, I missed out on a Reggie Jackson autographed baseball (if Reggie Jackson had taken steroids, he'd've been Batman), but I scored, big-time, by winning four hours of slide guitar lessons. I've dabbled in electric slide for years, and I bought a resonator a couple of years ago which is set up as a lap steel; I'm hoping these lessons will push me across the threshold of musical competence with these instruments.
As summer fades to a distant memory and the holiday hustle and bustle approaches, now is an excellent time to remind ourselves of how fortunate we are by reaching out to those who are less so. It's truly a privilege to work for a company that "gets it" in this vein, and fosters and encourages this trait in its citizens, to the extent that Microsoft does.
I'll post this year's Giving Campaign tally here when it's available.. here's hoping we leave last year's amazing total in the dust..