Nothing is a more practical harbinger of a new year than a new calendar. But calendars these days offer more than dates and reminders of events — they may be humorous or cute and often have a higher purpose than reminding you of Aunt Jenny’s pending February visit.
The folks at Microsoft have taken their love of pets and created calendars to be used as fundraisers for charities. And they’ve been hugely successful.
Nine years ago, a group of employees at Microsoft decided to put together a calendar of their favorite pictures of employees’ cats. The opportunity to be a part of it was open to everyone in the company. All anyone had to do to have a pet’s picture included in the calendar was to donate. Organizers hoped to raise $1,000 that first year; instead, they raised $44,000. All proceeds go to the Forget Me Not Animal Shelter in Ferry County, Washington.
The Cats of Microsoft Calendar makes up a third of donations to the shelter and has helped construct shelters and expand spaying and neutering projects. In 2016, the cat calendar is due to have raised about $80,000.
Dog lovers, not to be forgotten in these cat craze days, decided to create their own calendar a few years later. Modeled after its feline counterpart, the dog calendar is expected to raise more than $51,000 for 2016. While the cat calendars raise money for a cat shelter, the dog calendars raise money for Summit Assistance Dogs, a Washington-based organization that raises and trains assistance dogs for those in need.
All of this is a part of Microsoft’s culture of giving. It’s one of the largest employee giving initiatives in the world. Microsoft matches dollar for dollar all of the money employees raise.
Due to all of the cat submissions, calendar organizers began producing two calendars every year. The dog calendars, gaining ever more attention, may be due to release two next year.
Want to support the dogs and cats of Microsoft as they help their animal friends? You can call the Forget Me Not Shelter for a cat calendar at 509-207-9023 or check out Summit Assistance Dogs for a dog calendar.