Mountain View, CA- June 24, 2014. Raised in the heart of Silicon Valley, Microsoft’s Director of Corporate Citizenship now plays a new game. In this noble house sits Sid Espinosa, former Mayor of Palo Alto, California and notably the first Hispanic to be elected to public office in that city's history. At age 38, he was one of the Palo Alto's youngest mayors.
It’s not surprising that his life has been sculpted as a hybrid path between business and politics: leading to his recognition as a sophisticated giant in Silicon Valley. His portfolio chronicles exponential successes as the former director of global philanthropy for Hewlett Packard, where he over saw the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in nonprofits
and schools in all 50 U.S. states and in 60 countries around the world. Mr. Espinosa joined the Clinton Administration, working first at the White House and then as an advisor to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, at the U.S. Department of Justice. To this day Janet Reno remains “a close mentor and friend” who shaped him "professionally and as a person.” He developed a passion for philanthropy while achieving his master degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University due, he says to “its power to transform communities and individuals.”
Microsoft is an epicenter of leadership, innovation, integrity and social entrepreneurship. Mr. Espinosa is leading us directly into the future, with an eye on humanity. He is developing comprehensive programs from grassroots community efforts to establishing effective long-term philanthropic partnerships with non-profit organizations that improve the quality and access to education, improve the environment and assist in workforce development and skills training. It is no wonder that Microsoft is ranked third among Silicon Valley corporations for local philanthropic cash donations.
Mr. Espinosa was raised in the agricultural town of Gilroy, California. His father was an immigrant from Mexico, who arrived in the United States “penniless and speaking only Spanish” and later became a successful engineer. His mother is a retired professor and executive director of an educational non-profit organization. Espinosa grew up “surrounded by orchards, animals, and rolling hills,” giving him a love of nature and the environment and leading to his passionate work with numerous environmental organizations.
Drawing from past experiences and influences governed by his surroundings and family it is no wonder we are inspired to realize that life is precious. We are indeed lucky to have been led as a company by Bill Gates, who is recognized globally for his philanthropic commitments and achievements. His work has impacted the world. Bill Gates embedded this commitment into the company. Last year that commitment totaled more than $100 million (in employee and company donations). Microsoft also wants to encourage its employees to volunteer. After an employee volunteers for 10 hours the company will donate $17 an hour (for each retroactive and future employee volunteer hour) to that organization up to $12,000.
This story is not from an episode of the ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Silicon Valley’ - it’s real life. And the plot continues to grow as Mr. Espinosa carries Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts forward. As in the past with Bill Gates, there are many individuals and organizations who continue to look to the integrity and know how of leaders like Sid Espinosa. This valley can rest a little easier at night knowing someone is working diligently on our behalf. Sometimes all that is required is kindness and often we leave that kindness in the hearts of others who have inspired us. Can you carry that kindness forward? Ask yourself, who will you inspire today?
Author: Maria Schechter