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Customers of Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger Able to Support the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund
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Red Cross
May 5, 2008

Following a successful first year which resulted in Microsoft Corp. donating $1.3 million to ten cause organizations, $100,000 of which supported the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, Microsoft has announced the expansion of the i’m Initiative. Now, every time a person uses Windows Live Messenger or Windows Live Hotmail, Microsoft’s free Webmail service, Microsoft will share a portion of the advertising revenue with one of ten social cause organizations, including the American Red Cross.

E-mail or IM for the Red Cross

Microsoft heard loud and clear how important social causes are to its current Windows Live customers and knew it could make a difference by expanding the i’m Initiative to Windows Live Hotmail customers. Since not everyone can make financial contributions or volunteer their time for the cause they care about, Microsoft hopes that expanding the initiative will allow people to give back by doing what they do every day – sending instant messages and e-mail.

With the recent program expansion, Microsoft essentially doubles the opportunity for giving, allowing customers to support the i’m Initiative using both Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Hotmail. By following the directions at http://im.live.com, people can add the i’m Initiative to each account, but are not required to add the i’m Initiative to both accounts. Microsoft will make a donation to the organization that a customer selects every time someone sends a message using Windows Live Messenger or Windows Live Hotmail.

If participants select the Red Cross as their cause of choice, donations will support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to disaster survivors. With no set cap on the amount donated, the more a participant uses the services, the more money goes to help the Red Cross respond to disasters of every size and scope.  Each year, in communities large and small, the Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 emergencies, with help and hope provided by hundreds of thousands of volunteers of all ages.

“Expanding the i’m Initiative to include Windows Live Hotmail as well as Windows Live Messenger will offer people a simple way to support the American Red Cross and change lives one email and IM chat at a time,” said Wendy Harman, sr. associate of New Media Integration for the American Red Cross. “This viral campaign is part of an overall goal to give the public easy tools to connect with the Red Cross online.”

The i’m Initiative is one way the Red Cross is opening a two-way conversation with the public. The Red Cross is also reaching out via Red Cross Chat, the organizational blog, the American Red Cross Flickr photo pool, and the American Red Cross YouTube Channel.

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About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.

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