Program overview

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In this report, we have shared examples of how IBM’s integrated portfolio of corporate citizenship programs enables us to create innovative solutions to societal challenges, bring them to scale and make them sustainable. We set out to solve — and help others manage — the world’s greatest challenges in such areas as education, economic development, global health and environmental sustainability. Below, you will find brief descriptions of our citizenship programs, with highlights of their 2015 achievements.

Community Grants

IBM made a total of 3,100 Community Grants in 2015, with a combined market value of $4 million.

340 top-talent IBMers from 45 countries deployed in 29 teams to 20 countries in 2015, to work on more than 100 projects with a combined market value of $12 million. Since 2008, 2,800 IBMers from 60 countries have contributed their time and talent to more than 1,000 projects with a combined market value of nearly $70 million.

Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign

The ECCC offers IBM employees in the U.S. and Canada an opportunity to contribute their time, talent and financial support to the communities in which they live and work. Through the program — which consolidates all local community fund drives into a single, national fundraising event — IBMers have contributed more than $1 billion since 1978.

Piloted in 2015 and officially launched in March 2016, IBM Health Corps is a global program designed to tackle health challenges. It will bring IBM’s best talent in healthcare consulting, data analytics and cognitive computing in small teams to help public- and civil-sector health organizations address critical health disparities. Engagements in South Africa and the U.K. in 2015 demonstrated the viability of the Health Corps approach to tackling large-scale public health issues such as community nutrition, physical fitness and wellness, and skilled healthcare delivery to severely underserved populations.

Around the world, IBM plays an active role in helping universities, university students, and emerging innovators and employees prepare for the job markets of today and tomorrow. Engaging established academics and young scholars is critical to the future development and sustained success of IBM’s breakthrough technologies. In 2015, we issued more than 133,000 Bluemix development platform codes to university faculty and students, and registered more than 10,000 faculty members to download free IBM software. In total, our academic skills development program engaged nearly 57,000 faculty and students in such areas as analytics, IBM Watson cognitive computing, security and Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, our developer skills program reached more than 30,000 established and emerging innovators worldwide in 2015. Finally, IBM University Relations collaborated with other IBM business units to invest more than $13 million in awards and engagement programs, including volunteer initiatives that attracted more than 200 executives and thousands of employees in more than 20 countries throughout 2015.

Impact Grants enable IBM’s agile delivery of enterprise capabilities to schools and nonprofit organizations around the world. In 2015, we delivered nearly 400 grants with a combined value of more than $12 million. Over the life of the program, IBM has made 1,900 Impact Grants worth more than $53 million. Since 2012, we also have donated more than $6 million in software to more than 200 organizations. Our donations of Cloud, Analytics, Security and Business Operations solutions — including industry-leading products such as Cognos, Connections on Cloud, Curam, i2, Kenexa, SPSS and Watson — have helped nonprofit organizations advance their work in such essential areas as education, health and human services, and disaster relief and recovery. IBM employees have delivered more than 1.2 million hours of high-value pro bono consulting through the Impact Grants program.

Disaster recovery and relief

IBM expanded its engagement in disaster management around the world in 2015 — working with internal and external partners to deploy some of the most effective and sophisticated approaches to disaster relief available today. IBM provided and deployed our software, hardware, services and research assets (bringing in experts from across the company) to deliver solutions that were essential to helping organize the chaos of displaced people and their often unstructured data. In the process, we also leveraged a truly remarkable and passionately focused group of global volunteers to help people in times of dire need. These dedicated volunteers significantly amplified the impact of our program by working in the field, developing new technologies on their own time, and providing invaluable help to relieve the pain and stress of disaster survivors.


IBM’s SafetyNet application assists nonprofits with the compliance and record-keeping capabilities required to attract and retain private and government funding. The program kicked off in partnership with United Neighborhood Houses and resulted in four initial grantees in New York City: Hudson Guild, Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, and BronxWorks. SafetyNet supports these nonprofits in serving more than 60,000 clients annually.

Active and retired IBMers coordinate their contributions of skills-based volunteering through On Demand Community. The program has 275,000 registered users and has delivered nearly 20 million hours of volunteer service since inception. We aspire to have delivered 50 million hours of volunteer service by 2030. IBM’s volunteer activities align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Created by IBM, P-TECH grades 9 to 14 public schools concentrate the power of school districts, states, community colleges and industry partners to connect education to jobs, while changing the life trajectories of historically underserved youth. Launched with one school in 2011, the P-TECH network will encompass 60 schools across six U.S. states and Australia by fall 2016. P-TECH’s first graduating class of six students — all of whom completed their “six-year” program in just four years (June 2015) — moved on to entry-level professional jobs with IBM or matriculation at four-year colleges, with scholarships. Two of the graduates who took jobs with IBM also are working on their four-year degrees.

In its sixth year of operation, IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge will have deployed nearly 800 top experts to deliver pro bono services worth more than $66 million to 130 cities worldwide — including 16 new cities announced in 2015.

IBM’s consortium helps more than 2,000 small businesses grow and create jobs by connecting them to large companies’ supply chains. Since program inception, large company members have spent more than $6 billion with Supplier Connection registered small businesses — including more than $2 billion in 2015.

Teacher Advisor, Powered by IBM Watson

Powered by IBM Cognitive Computing to serve as a virtual mentor to teachers, Teacher Advisor will launch in August 2016 as a free, web-based resource. Our development team held panels and workshops with expert educators throughout 2015 to ensure that Teacher Advisor will fulfill its promise to help teachers enhance their content knowledge and strengthen their lesson-planning and classroom skills. As a resource for teachers, by teachers, Teacher Advisor, Powered by IBM Watson will incorporate expert teacher input and feedback into its functionality and design.

IBM’s free, web-based resource and repository for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) lesson plans and instructional resources drew 275,000 visits in 2015. New lessons, languages and resources added in 2015 raised program totals to 589 lessons in 15 languages, and 69 videos and tutorials — with 20 lessons mapped to U.S. Next Generation Science Standards. Across India, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam alone, nearly 11,000 teachers took advantage of Teachers TryScience training — benefitting an estimated 552,500 students.


In 2015, IBM launched the Veterans Employment Initiative to train military veterans on IBM i2® Analyst’s Notebook® software, prepare them for the advanced data analyst certification exam and assist them with job placement. In coordination with nonprofit and enterprise partners, the initiative trained 150 veterans in the U.S. and U.K. Ninety-seven percent of trainees attained certification, and 25 trainees have accepted job offers with IBM and our partner companies.

IBM World Community Grid aggregates donated, unused computing power computers and Android devices into a “virtual supercomputer” available free of charge to humanitarian researchers. In 2015, more than 16,000 new volunteers contributed 150,000 years of computing time. Overall, 3 million devices have contributed to World Community Grid’s ability to help researchers on critical issues of global health and environmental sustainability.