IBM tracks and reports global corporate contributions by issue, geography and type of grant. Giving by issue is important, as our goal is to maintain education as our primary focus by using IBM’s innovative skills and technology to improve student skills and performance. Giving by geography is also important, to help us understand the alignment of our resources with our global operations. But the type of our giving — a combination of problem-solving services, innovative technology (including software) and select contributions of cash, all combined in a way to transform approaches to societal challenges and achieve measurable outcomes that are both sustainable and scalable — that is what we believe distinguishes IBM.
While education is our highest priority, educational improvement cannot be achieved unless its connection to other issues is understood. Consequently we intend to continue strategic investments in human services, culture, health and the environment. In addition, it is vitally important that we maintain the flexibility to respond to emerging needs and develop new initiatives, as well as address extraordinary external conditions such as disaster relief and recovery. We believe that our contributions in 2015 met these goals.
IBM operates in a global, fully integrated fashion. This is reflected in the distribution of our citizenship contributions by geography. Some of our contributions are given on a globally competitive basis, so geographical distribution may vary due to the number and quality of applications. By type of contribution, technology and services as a percentage of total contributions increased in 2015. This is fully consistent with our focus on providing transformative and effective solutions. We do not set goals for percentage change in contributions year-to-year, nor for giving by geography or contribution type. We focus instead on increasing the quality of our work with organizations — on projects that successfully use our most innovative solutions, have a significant and measurable impact on key social issues, and are both scalable and sustainable. Current trends in contributions will not necessarily continue, but rather will be determined within the framework of our goal to increase the effectiveness of our contributions.