Pride of Reading: Microsoft wins award for helping staff donate £500,000 to charity every year

Microsoft has won an award for helping to donate more than £500,000 to charity every year by doubling the amount of money its staff raise.

Every year the technology company matches its employees’ fundraising and donations to around 300 charities, as well as giving workers three days off to volunteer for good causes.


As a result, Microsoft has been given the Business in Action prize at the Pride of Reading Awards – the company has its UK headquarters in the town.

The firm’s employee giving programme means staff usually donate between £500,000 and £700,000 a year to causes such as Launchpad Reading, which helps homeless people, and the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

They also volunteer in schools, helping with careers education, interview skills and online safety lessons, while others support charities in understanding how technology can be beneficial to achieving their aims.

“I’m delighted to see Microsoft UK recognised through the Pride of Reading awards,” said Clare Barclay, General Manager of Small, Mid Market Solutions and Partners at Microsoft. “We are a major contributor to the local community through our citizenship activity and volunteering programs. Winning this award is fitting recognition of the impact we are able to have when we come together with our employees and partners to make a real difference.”

Microsoft was nominated for the award by senior training manager Carla Humphries, who has worked at the company for 10 years.

Humphries has raised around £15,000 over the past five years, which Microsoft has subsequently matched, for charities including Action for Children and The Brain Tumour Charity.

“I’ve completed 24-hour spinathons, marathons, half marathons, held football tournaments and sold wristbands for The Big Match,” she said.

The Big Match, founded by Humphries’ husband Neil, sees teams of celebrities, local people and professional footballers come together to support good causes. The annual event, which is made up of a kids match, an adults match and an after-party, has raised more than £250,000 since it started in 2012.

The Microsoft team celebrate with host Chris Tarrant

The Microsoft team celebrate with host Chris Tarrant

This year The Big Match raised £58,000 and featured players such as former Liverpool defender Neil Ruddock, Kelly Smith (Arsenal and England) and Mikele Leigertwood (Reading and Crystal Palace). Next year’s game will be held at The New Den, the home of Millwall FC, on May 20.

“When you think what charities can do with the money we raise, it’s incredible,” Humphries said. “Microsoft is the first company that I’ve worked for that really supports charity work. But it’s not just that Microsoft matches donations, it’s about raising the profile of whatever people are doing and helping everyone raise money for good causes.”