CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 27, 1999 — Microsoft’s Product Support Services organization is staffed with more than 1,000 individuals who are, by nature, problem solvers dedicated to lending a helping hand and offering guidance to people in need of assistance.
For employees in the company’s East Region support site (PSS-ER) in Charlotte, N.C., those traits extend well beyond the workplace and into the community at large. In the 1999 fiscal year, hundreds of employees there donated 4,000 hours of their time in support of projects that serve children, the disadvantaged, the elderly, and nonprofit organizations. And Microsoft has backed the effort with $1 million in funds and software donations.
For its outstanding volunteer efforts within the Charlotte area, PSS-ER has been honored with the ’99 Nine Who Care Award for the numerous partnerships it has forged, and for its willingness to empower others through technology and its collective professional expertise.
The award — sponsored by WSOC-TV, the Central Carolinas United Way, and the Metrolina Association of Volunteer Administrators — recognizes volunteers in three categories: individuals, nonprofit groups, and businesses.
Eighteen entrants in each category were nominated, representing the 18 Charlotte-area counties. Of those, three finalists were chosen from each category to receive the ’99 Nine Who Care award. PSS-ER took the prize in the business category for Mecklenburg County, surpassing Sprint, Time Warner, Duke Energy, and other nominees.
The organization’s outreach efforts are coordinated through the facility’s Community Awareness Committee (CAC), which disburses community-involvement funds that Microsoft provides its district offices nationwide. Kim Harmon, PSS-ER’s site administrator and a CAC member, spearheaded the award-application process.
Whether helping community agencies set up computer systems, training a local library staff on new Internet technologies, or reading to kids at lunchtime during school hours, Harmon said the people in the Charlotte office are
“unbelievably dedicated–way above and beyond the call of duty. It’s a real credit to the great people Microsoft hires, and it sure is wonderful to work with folks like that.”
Harmon said the award committee was particularly impressed that Microsoft offers community-involvement funds, which enable district offices to respond to critical community needs, support employee involvement, encourage the technological capability of local nonprofit agencies, and increase access to technology in disadvantaged communities.
In Charlotte, these contributions, along with Connected Learning Community (CLC) Grants, have paid for five computer labs in disadvantaged areas, where PSS-ER volunteers have installed computers, loaded donated Microsoft software, and provided hands-on training.
The CLC grants support numerous public and nonprofit institutions, which offer innovative programs that connect individuals of all ages to learning resources. PSS-ER has funded the Charlotte’s Web program, which promotes the creative use of computer technology for children; Discovery Place, to support its traveling exhibit exploring the history and the future of technology; and the Black Data Processing Association’s weekend computer training program.
Other beneficiaries of money, software, and volunteer efforts include the Education Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America, the Florence Crittendon Community School of the Arts, the North Carolina Dance Theater, and many other local organizations, schools, and community centers.
And, said Harmon, the best is yet to come.
“We just started the construction of our Microsoft Habitat for Humanity house Sept. 11,”
“That’s a big win for Microsoft here in Charlotte and for the community, as it’s the first Habitat house that we’ve ever done. And we’re just thrilled about that.”