Microsoft has long had a donation matching program to encourage employees to give to charity, which also provides the PR team with good material for buffing the corporate image. But the rules specifically state that the money can only go to secular organizations, or religious organizations with ongoing secular programs. Yet in a Seattle Times weekend feature about immigrants in the local tech sector, it seems to be breaking those rules to keep Hindu employees happy:
Vishwa Gaddamanugu, who is president of the Hindu Temple in Bothell, says Microsoft offers to match its Indian employees' donations to the temple dollar for dollar. For workers who volunteer at the temple, the company also pays $17 an hour to the organization on their behalf, as it does for all employees.
But is the temple offering any appropriately secular services?
The temple does allow non-worshippers to visit, but only lists religious services and will only book religious events. So by Microsoft's own rules, it doesn't look like the organization qualifies for their charitable support. And the administration of the temple has become a divisive issue, with members complaining that the temple's board is interfering in religious questions improperly.
The company has tangled with crazy Christians like the Reverend Ken Hutcherson for years, such as the fight over the company's lack support for a state gay rights bill. Hutcherson is now asking his flock to buy Microsoft stock in the hopes of taking over the company and stopping it from pursuing "ungodly ventures." I'm going to guess that giving money to dark-skinned immigrants for the worship of false idols like Ganesh would probably count.