Microsoft has always been active in philanthropy, particularly supporting the development of non-profits that benefit society. However, not all support is solely given by corporate money. Every autumn, Microsoft employees with furry companions are encouraged to contribute to the annual Cats of Microsoft and Dogs of Microsoft calendars.
Microsoft's pet project fundraiser has been a big hit since it first started in 2008. The Cats of Microsoft project was initially organized by Karen Easterbrook who only intended to raise about $1,000. Instead, it took off with a yield of $44,000.
Today, Seattle Times reports that the two calendars combined have grown to approximately $80,000 per year. The proceeds of which are spread to build and support various animal shelters, as well as encouraging adoption programs. In fact, in 2013, the Cats of Microsoft Calendar page on Facebook announced they built three new shelters from the year's proceeds.
The most recent Dogs of Microsoft 2017 calendars has already shipped out for the upcoming year. Many of the pictures were organized by the training manager of Microsoft legal affairs, Mark Swatzell, who has had a passion of image designing from his college newspaper days. The new calendar is already on track to raise approximately $60,000, most of which will go to service dog training non-profit Summit Assistance Dogs.
Microsoft employees regard the pet calendars quite fondly. In rare cases, there have even been the occasional iguana or horse on the pages. Previous calendars also include a loving memory compilation of companions since lost.
Unfortunately for the feline and canine friendly consumers, the calendars are sold with limited supply towards their employees. However, some people report that local residents can buy one at the Microsoft Employee store on campus.