Through technical innovation, skills-based volunteering, capabilities and skills delivery, payroll deductions and direct grants, IBM and IBMers contribute directly to service and humanitarian causes.

On the larger scale, company programs coordinate tens of thousands of volunteer hours each year, millions of dollars annually of employee charitable contributions (more than $1 billion since the program started), and the development and delivery of technological solutions to help nonprofits serve more effectively. On a more intimate scale, IBM’s corporate culture encourages and supports individual acts of giving and service. Indeed, one of the key characteristics of IBM that has attracted and retained top talent for more than 100 years is the ability for employees to integrate community involvement with their family lives and careers.

On Demand Community

For more than 10 years, IBM’s On Demand Community® has served as a hub through which current and retired IBMers can engage in service and maximize the value of their contributions of skills. Through On Demand Community, nearly 290,000 IBM employees and alumni have contributed more than 20 million hours of skilled service in every corner of the world.

The critical differentiator between On Demand Community and other outlets for general volunteerism is the professional, high-value nature of the services that IBMers contribute. The greater IBM community is educated, innovative, technically sophisticated and steeped in a culture of values that encourages and enables service. When we say that service is part of IBM’s DNA, we mean that responsibility and service are baked into the cake — not just icing on the top. Coming from that perspective, when IBMers serve, they deliver value that is essential, lasting and scalable.

IBM Volunteer Excellence Awards

There is no greater testament to the importance of service at IBM than the legacy of the IBM Volunteer Excellence Awards — annual recognition from IBM’s president, chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty of individuals and teams who have personified our culture of service through their selfless actions. Celebrated since 2005, the awards for 2016 recognized IBM volunteers who…

  • Helped scale the P-TECH grade 9 to 14 model to Australia by enlisting IBMers and community college faculty to create a conducive environment and develop the first non-U.S. pilot for this proven program that connects high school to college and new-collar jobs.
  • Used music to help children with autism in China improve their social skills through a joint program of the IBM Design Studio in Shanghai and the Shanghai Cao Peng Music Center.
  • Enabled greater social integration capabilities of the Romani population in the Czech Republic through mentoring, STEM tutoring and helping young people meet educational goals and pursue careers.
  • Created a Business Mentor Program for Refugees in Denmark, successfully moving displaced persons into education, apprenticeships, internships, full-time employment and entrepreneurship.
  • Launched the development of a 50,000-book digital library for the blind in Indonesia, where currently less than 2,000 titles in braille exist for nearly 4 million blind citizens, according to an article in Forbes Indonesia.
  • Forged partnerships with NGOs to raise awareness of LGBT+ acceptance as a workplace issue in Japan.
  • Employed STEM education and training as a catalyst to help girls in Ireland and the U.S. achieve, gain confidence and prepare for advanced study and careers in technology.
IBMers lead a “Coder Dojo” session, introducing programming concepts to children in Dublin, Ireland, October 2016.

IBMers lead a “Coder Dojo” session, introducing programming concepts to children in Dublin, Ireland, October 2016.

Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign

In Canada and the United States, the IBM Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign (ECCC) raised $25.4 million in pledges from employees, executives and retirees. Through the ECCC, active IBMers can contribute to the charitable organizations of their choice through payroll deductions, with many contributions matched in whole or in part by the company. The greater IBM community has contributed more than $1 billion to worthy causes via the ECCC program.

IBM Community Grants

Totaling more than $4 million in 2016, IBM Community Grants support organizations and schools where current and retired IBMers are providing skills-based volunteer service. Last year’s grant recipients included:

  • The Shanghai Cao Peng Music Center, for which an IBM Design Center team used their skills and resources to increase awareness of autism and positively influence the music center’s fundraising efforts.
  • The Spastics Society of Karnataka (SSK), an NGO in Bangalore, India, where IBM volunteers run 10-week vocational training sessions twice yearly, and have used IBM Community Grants to help the society acquire systems and software used to train students in employable skills.
  • The Nightline Association in the United Kingdom, where an IBM volunteer helped raise awareness and dramatically increase volunteer participation in this organization through which young people provide confidential emotional support to fellow students.
  • Work with Pride, an NGO in Japan, where last year seven IBM volunteers used their expertise and skills to raise awareness of the continuing challenges for LGBT+ citizens in the workplace.
  • Carmen Rodriguez High School, a Chilean institution that welcomes children at social risk, and where since 2013 an IBM volunteer has conducted workshops and activities to promote self-esteem and self-care among young people.
  • Shriners Hospital for Children (Houston, Texas), where a volunteer IBM team helped develop a plan to improve the efficiency of an antiquated transportation system — engaging patients more effectively and reducing no-shows and surgical cancellations. A second volunteer team is developing a social media strategy to increase the hospital’s brand recognition. The model will be replicated across the Shriners Hospital network.
  • The Girl Scouts of Citrus Council (Florida), where an IBM volunteer initiated programs leading to a STEM-related activity patch, and where in 2016 IBM piloted an anti-bullying and diversity program that resulted in the development of a new IBM Activity Kit on “Teaching Respect” and an associated Girl Scouts activity patch.
Girl Scouts in Orlando, Florida, show their “Teaching Respect” activity patches following an event organized by IBMers in October 2016.

Girl Scouts in Orlando, Florida, show their “Teaching Respect” activity patches following an event organized by IBMers in October 2016.

IBM Apps for Social Good

IBM Apps for Social Good is a portfolio of mobile applications designed to help nonprofit organizations address their critical needs, and the needs of their clients. Typically developed by local IBM teams in collaboration with an NGO partner, these apps reside on IBM’s Cloud for Social Good. Through this program, IBM and our partners are developing signature apps that can be used by NGOs around the world. For example:

  • In Italy, hospital system Fondazione Bambino Gesù (OBG) asked IBM to re-purpose a mobile app that was developed in collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) to help collect data on obesity and diabetes in children. This data will be measured against socio-economic variables to help doctors implement better prevention and treatment programs.
  • In Australia, we partnered with the Australian Museum to develop a mobile education app that teachers and children can use to access classroom activities and lesson plans, and even to record frog calls as part of learning about various species.

Download the 2016 report