Leveraging Tech and Talent to Drive Social Impact: IBM’s Volunteering Culture

By | 2 minute read | December 3, 2021

For over two decades, IBM has built its current culture of giving by attracting and inspiring employees who are dedicated to improving the lives of others. Since 2003, 321,000 IBMers have donated their energy, effort, and expertise to initiatives that contributed to more than 21 million hours of volunteering. Our goal? Use technology and talent to drive social impact.

IBM’s platforms offer employees the opportunity to volunteer in a variety of ways. Two great examples are our landmark Call for Code annual challenge and IBM Service Corps program. Both initiatives offer a way for IBMers to join the fight against the world’s most pressing issues by deploying innovative solutions that leverage technology to help communities across the world.

However, IBM’s initiatives to promote volunteerism among our employees go beyond that. We have a solid track record of using our resources to build models of volunteering across the globe and, on International Volunteer Day, we want to share some of those stories:

  • Project for visually impaired in India: In a straightforward but meaningful project, a large team of IBM volunteers in India worked with an NGO to record a series of textbooks for visually impaired students and provide them with audio-based learning. Although the execution was challenging – as it required project management skills and commitment – the project ended with over 300 hours of high-quality audio, spanning topics in English and Tamil.
  • Using blockchain to distribute food: Through our Al-Wasl.Connect initiative, we developed a blockchain and analytics-based system that had the potential to help tackle challenges around the distribution of food and other goods due to COVID-19, which disrupted supply chains and left communities vulnerable to shortages. Its function was later extended and used successfully in Lebanon to help humanitarian relief efforts.
  • Lebanon Relief Network: in collaboration with IBM volunteers and mental health professionals, we followed a design-thinking process to develop a digital platform to tackle the consequences of trauma, such as the one caused by the 2020 explosion in Beirut, on the mental health of residents of Lebanon and individuals from the Lebanese diaspora. This digital platform, created thanks to volunteers from across the world and from IBM Consulting, IBM Software, and Client Engineering, helps people connect to professionals and get the support they need. The platform can also be adapted and reused in a wide range of contexts, to address psychological trauma of different nature.

IBM is committed to providing technology and other resources that our employees need to make a lasting impact. Learn more on IBM Volunteers.