While, as noted earlier, Bill Gates threw a lot of money to politicians in recent years, he's of course since aimed most of his billions toward his foundation and charitable causes. So have Microsoft employees: In October, for example, Microsofties donated, on average, $30.86 every second of every workday, says publicist Julie Woodbury. This year was the most successful in Microsoft's employee giving fund history, raising a record $96 million. That's a 9.2% increase over 2009, aiding more than 16,000 community organizations of all sizes.
Woodbury says the $2.76 million that Softies gave to United Way is helping their new Parent-Child Home Program, which ensures that children from low-income, struggling families enter school with an equal chance.
Most of the Children's funding ($800,000) goes toward uncompensated care, so no patient is turned away for insurance or financial reasons. This money donation is expected to assist around 1,000 families.
For contrast, a smaller organization, Summit Assistant Dogs, received about $118,000 from employees - roughly one-third of their operating budget - enabling them to hire an additional full time employee and train more dogs for people with disabilities.
Nearly 35,000 Softies participated, and more than 4,000 also volunteered over 350,000 hours of their time, generating $6 million in funds for the recipient organizations. Microsoft corporate does its part too, matching donations up to $12,000.
Pamela Passman, Microsoft's corporate vice president of global affairs, thought employees, like most people, were too worried about the economy, and "would take a more conservative approach to their personal philanthropy. We were wrong." Donations topped last year's by $8 million.