Time of need also time to think about giving

Akhtar Badshah
Akhtar Badshah

Many people these days are talking about what they need — and with good reason. Akhtar Badshah is also making it his focus to talk about what people can give.

Dr. Badshah, distinguished practitioner with the University of Washington Bothell’s School of Business and with the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the UW in Seattle, spells it out in his new book, “Purpose Mindset: How Microsoft Inspires Employees and Alumni to Change the World.”

Inspiring stories

Using stories from the company where Badshah was director of philanthropy from 2004 to 2014, the book expands on the idea of having a growth mindset — being open to experiment and to learn from failure.

“Purpose mindset extends that from self-growth to business growth to how that impacts the betterment of the overall community,” said Badshah.

Badshah said Microsoft employees and former employees have a significant impact on nonprofits in Seattle, the state of Washington and beyond. Prompted by Bill Gates’ mother Mary Gates, Microsoft started an employee giving campaign that raised $17,000 in 1983. By 2020, that amount has risen to more than $220 million, from contributions and matches from Microsoft.

Other companies also can promote the purpose mindset by encouraging their employees to donate money and to volunteer with community organizations, Badshah said.

“At this time when so many people are overwhelmed with their work and the loneliness and the isolation,” Badshah said, “it is important to spend time to reignite your purpose, to move from ‘me’ to ‘we’ and focus on the common good.

“It’s not about who you want to be, it’s about who you want to serve. What is your purpose?”

Finding motivation

Published by Harper Collins Leadership, “Purpose Mindset” is the first in a series of Microsoft Alumni Network imprints. The network and University Bookstore are hosting an online conversation on Feb. 16 with Badshah, moderated by Erica Barnhart, director of the Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. 

Those interested in hearing more about the book, the philosophy of giving it explores and how it might motivate a new mindset can participate in the 6 p.m. event by registering here

Badshah is president of Global Washington, a nonprofit that promotes global development. He also founded a consulting practice called Catalytic Innovators Group and  is a leader of Restart Partners, a nonprofit that promotes the use of face masks

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