IBM’s Volunteer Excellence Awards have been presented annually by our Chairman and CEO since 2005. Today, I’m honored to announce the 15 winners of the 2021 IBM Volunteer Excellence Awards and the impact of their accomplishments. This is the first year I’ve worked on this remarkable program and I’m so excited to recognize these IBMers who exemplify our shared values through their volunteer efforts.

Each of the 15 winners will earn a $10,000 (USD) grant, which will be used to continue the important work being done at their partner organizations to combat real-world problems. With a passion to improve the lives of others, IBM volunteers leverage their industry expertise every day to broaden the ways technology is used, to drive social impact, and to empower diverse communities of learners.

Continuing a Newfound Tradition

Last year, we created a new opportunity for IBMers to vote for their favorite projects from each of the 15 award winners. This year, we are excited to continue that same newfound tradition and honor the three projects with the most votes. Congratulations to the three teams that were selected by their peers for an additional grant of $5,000 (USD)!

  • Italy – Remote learning for students: IBMers used IBM SkillsBuild to help learners access educational resources and developed a new portal specific to Italian markets, providing safer learning opportunities for students.
  • Spain – Mentoring for Intellectually Disabled Learners: IBM volunteers mentored neurodiverse students, helping them acquire digital skills that would reinforce their value in the workforce.
  • US – STEM initiatives for student and community learning: IBM Kyle Gilbertson’s passion for STEM initiatives is evident in the multiple STEM-related volunteer activities to which he dedicates his time, including mentoring young girls to program mobile apps, tutors high school computer programming classes, and designs Lego competitions.

Creating Social Impact via Mentorship and Digital Learning

Creating impact together is the epicenter of the work we do at IBM. Last year, IBM volunteers made an impact in their communities in areas ranging from talent development and education to workforce readiness and cybersecurity. Our 15 winners come from countries around the globe – Argentina, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United States – and demonstrate unsurpassed volunteer service, supporting projects that are a model for similar volunteer engagements across the globe.

Every team’s work is exemplar. What resonated with me personally was how our volunteers are working across so many different communities facing unique challenges but can have an outsized impact. Whether it’s through mentorship and digital learning through IBM SkillsBuild, equipping disabled students with workforce skills, or promoting STEM education for young girls, our volunteers have tailored programs to create meaningful and lasting benefits for communities.

We applaud all the 2021 IBM Volunteer Excellence Award winners. Your expertise, talent, and humanity are the driving forces behind some of the world’s most critical work.


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