IBMers have a long tradition of volunteering their time, skills and expertise with schools and community organizations worldwide. Inspiring accounts of their dedication and accomplishments are described in these stories of service.
Most recent stories are listed first.
Excellence award: Listening to what's not being said in order to deliver what's needed
In the Philippines, Sherwin Pelayo uses the active listening skills he has honed at IBM to help draw out ideas and craft solutions, most recently for the Exempli Gratia Foundation; he won an IBM Volunteer Excellence Award for his work with them.
Excellence award: Sharing a passion for engineering with girls
For years, Audrey Romonosky has worked with the students at CD Fulkes Middle School, 60 percent of whom are defined as at-risk. She's shared her passion for engineering with over 1,200 students and earned an IBM Volunteer Excellence Award for her work.
In Turkey, IBM volunteer helps grow tomorrow’s scientists today
Pelin Tayanç and a team of IBM volunteers organize Turkish participation in the FIRST LEGO League, an international competition that exposes children to science and technology while teaching team-building and problem solving skills.
IBM volunteer in Argentina helps bridge the digital divide and more
IBMer Luis Inclan helps disabled and disadvantage youth bridge the digital divide and gain computer literacy in Argentina.
Excellence award: Envisioning and preparing for a time of need
A team of four IBM volunteers in Italy brought their disparate skills together to develop a vital, new software component to aid evacuee management in disasters—and have won an IBM Volunteer Excellence Award for their work.
Excellence award: Volunteer in India changes the world one small step at a time
For his years as a tireless volunteer in India, sharing his expertise, passion and commitment with numerous organizations and positively affecting the lives of many people, Naveen Prathapaneni has won an IBM Volunteer Excellence Award.
In Argentina, volunteer uses social networking to better the human condition
Ichi Olocco y Garcia is managing a crowdfunding project to provide hot water to students in Argentina.
Engaging girls in STEM to make a difference in the world
Jack Chinkonsung is using On Demand Community to find resources and talk with colleagues around the world about his passion—encouraging more kids to pursue STEM education and careers.
Excellence award: IBM volunteers in Ireland and the world mentor young coding ninjas
Four IBM volunteers in Ireland coordinated activities locally and around the world to help young people develop software coding skills. The Ireland-based team and their global peers received a 2014 IBM Volunteer Excellence Award.
Excellence award: U.S. IBM volunteer powers radio waves for safety
Robert Andrews has taken his love for amateur radio from a hobby to becoming a certified Disaster Service Technology volunteer to serving America’s highest emergency management and communication needs. He received a 2014 IBM Volunteer Excellence Award.
Reaching out to others with compassion through service
For four years in a row, IBMer Prabodh Gupta has volunteered for the Raj Bhowmik Global Compassion day in India because he believes that “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want in life.”
The call to serve—volunteer combats cybercrime with America’s Wounded Warriors
US volunteer Jim Wilson works as an advocate, teacher, mentor and cheerleader to groups of Wounded Warriors—injured military veterans—seeking to develop the skills necessary to combat cybercrime now that their military careers are over.
IBM Announces Winners of 2014 IBM Volunteer Excellence Award
Honoring community impact made in 2014, IBM has awarded its highest form of volunteer recognition—the Volunteer Excellence Award—to 12 IBM teams or individuals around the world.
Picking-up Peru’s beaches, one piece of plastic at a time
In Peru, IBM volunteer Rodrigo Bustamente helps pick-up plastic and other trash along some of the countries extensive and usually pristine beaches.
IBM volunteers use STEM to help kids dream big in Mexico
Cristina Rizo coordinated over 150 IBM volunteers in conducting engineering workshops with an NGO to support under-resourced schools. In 2013, the team visited five schools in marginalized areas, helping more than 2,300 children
Geek or nerd? IBM volunteers show students in Techie Club it doesn’t matter
Kaylyn Cheatham, Kara Byerly and a team of IBM volunteers in Ohio are helping young students at a local elementary school develop an understanding and appreciation for computing and engineering through a year of activities at their Techie Club.
No interest in math? Kids get hands-on help from IBM volunteers in Texas
US schoolchildren believe math is boring and useless, but Ruby Martinez Zgabay and a group of IBM volunteers from Austin, Texas are going into classrooms to show real-world applications.
In France, volunteer nurtures deserving young talent
Isabel Dias volunteered with the Institut du Service Civique to give back. Her work as a mentor has given her as much as she’s given to one of France’s deserving young talents.
US volunteer encourages girls to consider engineering
In New York, IBMer Jennifer Turner started “Engineering is Fun” to get and keep girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math; hundreds of girls have participated in the program and many have gone on to careers in science.
Success story: Giving back to help others get ahead
IBMer Celeste Regalini first volunteered at age 12. Today, she is committed to aiding the youth at Grupo Puentes, an Argentinean nonprofit that helps at-risk kids transform their lives and gain access to a world of opportunity.
Volunteer of the Month: In China, IBM volunteers help tomorrow’s stars shine today
Alice Gu and other IBM volunteers in China have developed a training center model to mentor students at the Shanghai Foreign Language School in applying science and technology to real-world problems.
A U.S. retiree is giving adult students a chance at success
An engineer and manager with IBM for 28 years, Mike Scully retired from IBM and immediately went to work volunteering.
2013 Volunteer Excellence Winner Feature: Creating opportunities for young people in Uruguay
Four IBM volunteers in Uruguay conceived, wrote and taught a course in software application testing to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds acquire job skills. The IBM team was honored with a 2013 Volunteer Excellence Award for their effort.
2013 Volunteer Excellence Winner Feature: Giving kids with disabilities a chance to fulfill their ambitions
A team of IBM volunteers in India provides support for everything from strategy sessions to classroom instruction for an NGO that helps children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy. In 2014, the IBM team received a volunteer excellence award.
Being the change he wants to see in Singapore and the world
IBMer Saurabh Jaiswal says, “There is no better way to improve our future than empowering the children.” He’s done just that by working with the Science Centre Singapore to develop and present a curriculum about climate change.
2013 Volunteer Excellence Winner Feature: Team UK ignites interest in STEM with Raspberry Pi Virtual Science Lab
Team United Kingdom created the Raspberry Pi Virtual Science Lab Project to engage students in STEM topics. The IBM team of volunteers also created customized software for the device, creating output the children can understand and learn from.
2013 Volunteer Excellence Winner Feature:
IBM volunteers in Japan give the gift of knowledge
IBM volunteers in Japan give the gift of knowledge
Using their expertise in government, consulting and data analytics, four IBM volunteers from Japan helped a nonprofit organization gain greater insight into youth unemployment.
IBM volunteers in Slovakia build website to attract more volunteers
Martin Valentovic and a team of IBM volunteers skilled in web design and production devoted more than 1,000 hours to improve the website site of an NGO in Slovakia whose mission is to match people with volunteer opportunities.
IBM retiree in Germany brings digital learning to pre-schoolers
Retirement has opened up a world of opportunity for Reinhard Kammholz, a former business practices professional for IBM in Germany. In 2012, among other volunteer projects, he established a KidSmart program at a local organization.
2013 Volunteer Excellence Winner Feature:
Team Costa Rica
Team Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, IBM volunteers developed a robotics course based on how animals move to help school children have more fun with science and understand how it can be applied. The volunteers won the 2013 IBM Volunteer Excellence award.
Teaching respect for all spectrums of diversity
Over the past several years, IBM volunteers in Canada have shared the stories and messages in the “Teaching Respect in Schools” global program with thousands of students across the country, helping appreciate differences and diversity.
Children with Down syndrome have a fun new tool for learning
Ernesto Jeschke and a team of 5 IBM volunteers in Argentina used open source software to create a game designed to help children with Down syndrome become familiar with emotional responses in everyday situations.
Envisioning improved education and sustainable food sources for children in Tanzania
Petra Bernhardt listened for need, and envisioned a future where school children in her home town could help build a sustainable school for children in Mangula, Tanzania.
IBM retiree helps change lives through literacy
Dick Bliss saw the impact he could have as a volunteer helping teach English to adults lacking literacy skills and non-native speakers, and then grew his role into a seat on the Board of Directors of the Craven Literary Council.
Promoting technology with women, children and communities
In a series of ongoing and one-time volunteer activities and in partnership with the Shanghai Science Education Development Foundation (SSEDF), Yang Gu and Wei Jun led a large team of IBM volunteers to promote technology science across several audiences.
2013 Volunteer Excellence Awards Finalists
Envisioning a future without cyberbullying in Hong Kong. Research shows that 64% of teenagers in Hong Kong and Macau have experienced some for of cyber-bullying. Mary Law and her team of seven IBMers envisioned a program that would raise awareness of the problem, help to prevent cyber-bullying, and have a real impact on the students and the environment in their schools.
Long Term Volunteer Is a Role Model for Diversity and Outreach
Bahram Maghsoudi found that the most rewarding IT project he has worked on was helping a church-based non-profit home care service in rural Germany assess, upgrade and implement new technology.
2013 Volunteer Excellence Winner Feature: Rosanna Nazir
What started for Rosanna Nazir as assistance from an IBM centennial year grant for a volunteer project with the social security department in Amsterdam has developed into a nonprofit organization in the Netherlands.
2013 Volunteer Excellence Winner Feature: Diane Statkus
Beginning in 2011 as one of the IBM Centennial Celebration of Service and continuing into 2013, IBM has provided a day of service to the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, an organization serving thousands of veterans each year who are facing or at risk of homelessness
Announcing the 2013 IBM Volunteer Excellence Awards
Announcing the winners of the 2013 Volunteer Excellence Awards – the highest global recognition for volunteerism at IBM.
IBM manager in the U.K. volunteers to expand volunteerism
In the U.K., Deepak Ohry chairs the board of trustees of an organization dedicated to creating positive volunteer outcomes—matching the needs of charities with the interests and skills of volunteers, while providing services to maximize volunteerism.
IBM volunteer in Chile mentors student, appreciates new perspectives
After returning from an IBM Corporate Service Corps assignment in South Africa, Arturo Otto started mentoring a teenage student in Santiago, Chile—providing guidance to the student, and also gaining a new perspective on the lives of others.
Volunteer’s passion for cycling helps kids in New Zealand see new potential
Dave Kent has loved everything about bicycles since he was a kid. Since 2012, he has helped young people in New Zealand develop an appreciation for cycling while also boosting their confidence, physical activity and potential job skills.
Making a neighborhood safer – US
Chris Culberson, an IBM client IT architect in Houston, Texas, worked with his local property owners association to develop a smarter security system for his neighborhood. The result was an immediate drop in crime.
IBM volunteers lead anti-cyber-bullying training in Hong Kong
IBM volunteers in Hong Kong—with various areas of expertise—led primary school students in two days of activities designed to increase their awareness of cyber-bullying and promote greater civility in their online interactions.
IBM volunteer grows a student-run business in Brazil and his skills
Since 2012, Bruno Suzart, a sales operations advisor for IBM in Brazil, has volunteered at a student-run consultancy at the University of Brasilia, serving as the director of projects, helping grow business and learning important skills.
On Demand Community celebrates its tenth anniversary
Over the past 10 years, close to 250,000 IBM employees and retirees have used IBM On Demand Community to find volunteer opportunities and resources, and to log more than 16 million volunteer hours. See what IBM has planned for the next ten years.
A lifelong volunteer in the United States works through the worst to make the world better
An IBMer since he was an undergraduate college student, Steven Reps has volunteered in schools since before his daughter was born. “I have always been interested in supporting worthy charitable causes not only monetarily, but with my time, as well.”
Volunteer team in India uses skills to identify missing people in tragic flood
With thousands lost and dead from flooding in northern India, Sunil Raghavan and a team of skilled IBM volunteers acted fast to aid the search effort by using data analytics to support the government’s efforts to identify missing people.
Swiss volunteer untangles a chaotic IT situation, teaches skills to young people
In 2012, Christian Ronchi, a global account team leader for IBM in Switzerland, started volunteering at an organization near Zurich that teaches practical skills to young people—making use of his IT skills to both teach and repair.
IBM volunteer finds his ‘calling’ helping kids in Texas have fun with science and engineering
Rick McMaster, an IBM program manager in Texas, has voluntarily reached out to students, schools and organizations for 17 years to get and keep students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)—his job at IBM has a similar goal.
In Hong Kong, IBM volunteers help the underprivileged deliver social projects
Cynthia Wong and five other IBM volunteers in Hong Kong used their expertise to guide mentorship teams in delivering social projects to the residents of one of the poorest districts.
IBM volunteers in Spain coach students to train for better futures
Pilar Linan Vallecillos is one of more than 75 volunteers from IBM in Spain helping young people with a background of academic difficulty and other disadvantages become motivated to continue their education.
IBM volunteer in Mexico goes behind-the-scenes to help charity
For years David Gallardo, an IBM executive in Mexico, has donated to charities. Recently, he got more actively involved in an organization that helps children living on the street—using his business skills to improve fundraising capabilities.
IBM volunteer shares overseas experience with students in New York
A few years after a business assignment in Africa, Chris Buccella, a software developer for IBM in the United States, volunteered to share his overseas experience with high school students to help them develop a more global perspective.
Volunteer adds math games and family time to help school in U.S.
For four years, Judite Carey has volunteered on the Parent Teacher Organization at her daughter’s school, helping improve communication between the school and parents, while increasing opportunities for families to spend more time together.
IBM volunteers in Colombia help give life to ideas
Jose Ceballos, an IBM systems service representative, and a team of eight IBM volunteers from Colombia worked with two schools which serve low income families to implement environmental projects—leading them from brainstorming to execution to results.
Passion makes a tough job feel easier for IBM volunteer in Indonesia
IBMer Rina Jayani Rahmadi is making a difference in the life of hearing-impaired children in Indonesia. Founder of the Indonesia Hear Foundation which provides hearing aids and cochlear implants for needy children, she also runs a therapy center and will soon run a school, as well.
IBM volunteer in Canada makes a difference getting on board with Ability Online
Christine Haeberlin, an IBM business development executive in Toronto, was anxious about joining Ability Online's board of directors, concerned she wouldn't have time to make a difference—two years later she says the payback has been extraordinary.
Returning to serve—IBM volunteer in Ireland chairs not-for-profit in former neighborhood
Simon Daly grew up in Ballymun—a rough suburb of Dublin, Ireland—benefitting from services that resulted in a career at IBM as a sales professional. Years later he returned to lead a not-for-profit serving young people in the community of his youth.
IBM volunteers begin reforesting to help Costa Rica become carbon neutral
IBMer Alejandro Dobles founded Seeds of Knowledge—a volunteer organization aligned with Arboles Mágicos—to help promote the conservation of native Costa Rican trees through reforestation, environmental awareness, and education.
Four IBM volunteers in Oklahoma help girls scout their future
Four IBM volunteers have a history of volunteerism with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma in the United States. From troop leaders to facility clean-ups to board participation—the four have accrued 3,000 volunteer hours helping thousands of girls.
Collaborating to save lives—U.S. IBM volunteer helps Haitian quake survivors
As a volunteer technical advisor, Lisa Novajosky Smith, an IBM professional in the United States, helped Colleagues In Care create a way to crowdsource aid from medical volunteers around the world to support recovery efforts after the earthquake in Haiti.
IBM volunteers in India help disabled students learn computer skills
Since 2011 Karthik Mulakaluri has led a team of IBM volunteers in Bangalore, India, assisting students with cerebral palsy and other disabilities at a local not-for-profit-an experience he describes as life changing.
Teaching the teachers, IBM volunteer provides UK educators with IT insights
Colleen Haffey, an IBM software architect in the UK, created and delivered nine workshops across the country giving teachers insight into how IT can make the world a better place and enabling them to pass on Smarter Planet concepts to their pupils.
IBM volunteers in Japan bring smart, frugal solution to area hit by tsunami
IBM volunteers in Japan help the residents of Otsuchi after a devastating earthquake and tsunami--first with physical labor to remove rubble, then by applying technology to create a database of citizens' information to improve delivery of services.
IBM volunteer helps military vets prepare for civilian sector
Stacy Gorin, a skills leader at IBM, volunteers with a not-for-profit that helps U.S. veterans transition into civilian life with career counseling and mentoring. She was matched with an army captain who praises the success of their partnership.
In Brazil, IBM volunteer helps develop IT skills in others
Joaquim Mattos, an IBM solutions architect in Brazil, relied on his past volunteer experience, professional expertise and personal leadership to build and lead an IT course to help at-risk adults gain skills in computer maintenance and network set-up.
Building a foundation for education from the ground up
IBM volunteer in Germany establishes a not-for-profit organization to support education in Cameroon and Africa.
Volunteer helps plan bilingual literacy project for remote area of Argentina
Bilingual literacy is vital to an indigenous people in remote Argentina. Adrian Ciaffone, a manager for IBM in Buenos Aires, used his project management skills to help a not-for-profit deliver education to the Wichi children of Salta province.
IBM volunteers help feed needy in Victoria, Canada
Deanna Drschiwiski, a project manager for IBM in Canada, created a charitable giving program among tech companies in Victoria and has led it for the last 12 years, providing over a million dollars of food and donations for the Mustard Seed.
IBM volunteer in Australia sparks fire at EX.I.T.E. camps
For eight years IBM volunteer Carol Woodhouse has organized and led EX.I.T.E. camps in Australia designed to help young women consider careers in technology. Several graduates have pursued education in technology or now have careers at IBM.
Global pro bono, local New York hero
In 2009, Theresa Mohan, senior regional counsel for IBM in the United States, and several IBM colleagues were beginning to update IBM’s approach to pro bono service within its legal community. At IBM, pro bono service—work undertaken voluntarily and without payment—fits well as a professional and personal objective for the company’s legal team. However, the infrastructure to enable pro bono service at corporations is not as developed as it is at law firms, which are closer to the courts and litigation.
Teach, donate, create—IBM volunteers in China support education in rural area
Hainan Yin, a warranty program manager for IBM in China, led a team of eight IBM colleagues and volunteers in a project designed to improve education in rural areas of the country. What started as a used-book drive by IBM employees with the Siyuan Commonweal Organization (SCO) has grown into a collaboration with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) to deliver a series of educational workshops to 400 children in the Gansu province of China, and a cloud platform solution to help track book donations and manage volunteer activity.
IBM volunteers in France help educate the public on diabetes’ deadly impact
According to the World Health Organization, more than 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, a disease that, if not controlled, can lead to blindness, loss of limb, and ultimately, loss of life. In fact, in 2004, the latest year for which numbers are available, an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of high fasting blood sugar.
IBM volunteer in Canada helps homeless regain dignity, hope and purpose
The Ottawa Mission, a not-for-profit, faith-based organization in Canada’s capital city, plainly states on its web site “the problems that people who are homeless face aren’t simple and neither are the solutions.” Yet it’s clear that caring volunteers, willing to give their time and attention, are a vital part of the answer to help those in need.
2012 Volunteer Excellence Award winners announced
IBM has a deep and long standing commitment to the communities in which we live and work. The Volunteer Excellence Award annually recognizes a select number of IBM employees who embody this commitment by demonstrating exemplary volunteer service in projects that apply IBM’s Smarter Planet strategies to community service.
Multifaceted IBM volunteer helps community hit by super storm Sandy – New York
Lillie Ng has been very active over the last few years. Her job as an IT architect for IBM in the United States has kept her busy, yet she has managed to mentor a high school student, engage children using IBM activity kits, give inspirational talks about careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and be selected for assignment on an IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) team in the Philippines.
Training the Korean Internet Dream Team
The importance of Internet safety takes on even more urgency in the country called the most wired place on the planet. South Korea has one of the highest rates of Internet penetration in the world, and its capital, Seoul, has been called “the bandwidth capital of the world."
Multicultural business women in Denmark get a helping hand from MEK
Sanila Rana, an IBM volunteer in Denmark, is helping diverse women deal with cultural challenges to achieve success in the Danish business community.
Battling tsunami and drought with technology, teamwork and "God's forgotten grain"
The horrifying tsunami of 2004 inundated farmlands along the southeast coast of India with salt residues, and that disaster has been followed by years of drought.
An entrepreneurial spirit drives community engagement for an IBM retiree
Luis Cecelio Toussaint Gallardo spent a lifetime at IBM. Throughout his 30 year career as an industrial engineer in Guadalajara, Mexico, he worked to ensure IBMers had access to quality education and training.
One volunteer makes a big difference
IBM volunteer in New Hampshire introduces Mission: Innovation Activity Kit to seventh grade technology class curriculum.
Building foundations for quality rural education
In remote northern Thailand, Jeanne-Tania Sucharitaves led the way to build a sustainable school system.
Making a difference, one fair trade at a time
Traveling the world as an IBM marketing executive opened Peter Reichart’s eyes to ways of life he'd never experienced in his native Germany.
Award-winning volunteer projects continue to make an impact
Facebook becomes a tool to help a volunteer’s hometown
Social networking media can play a major role in raising social awareness and helping communities anywhere in the world. That’s what Larissa Geraldine Valdez, an IBM Philippines learning consultant, discovered by accident.
One good deed leads to others
IBM Argentina's Tomás Carlos Otaño is using social media to help transform the business operations of a bakery run by people with Down’s Syndrome.
IBM Counsel inspires her Chicago community to help support a school
Despite many obstacles, Chicago’s Belding Elementary School is a high-achieving public school – and with the help of IBM grants and IBM volunteers, it could be a model for the entire city.
Teaching respect and preventing bullying
Teaching respect and preventing bullying are priorities for IBM volunteers around the world.
IBM system engineer learns a new skill to help a school
Despite having no experience, Christof Simons builds a web site for an elementary school in Belgium.
IBM retiree helps change lives through literacy
Dick Bliss goes above and beyond volunteering at North Carolina’s Craven Literacy Council.
IBM Vietnam’s Country Counsel teaches law students about ethics and social justice
Vietnam Country Counsel Truong Lewis began sharing his legal experiences with law students in Hanoi.
IBM employee makes time to help children get a fresh start
In Australia, Amanda Farquhar volunteers and finds resources for St. Michael’s Primary School.
IBMers mentor on careers, math & engineering in six states
Youth Service America and IBM collaborate with MentorPlace for career readiness & exploration.
IBM analyst helps the elder population connect online
In Argentina, Cecilia Valldosera helps seniors learn to communicate with the world.
Recycled plastic jewelry – a first step out of poverty
Francoise Chevalier, an IBM France employee, is partnering with a group of African women living in poverty to help them become autonomous through the sale of jewelry made from recycled plastic.
Canada: IBM manager helps food bank fight hunger
The Ottawa Food Bank provides help for more than 43,000 city residents each month and an IBM grant and volunteer efforts will help the food bank work more efficiently and effectively, and grow an acre of crops for the hungry.
Indonesia: Children in juvenile prisons need IT help, too
Volunteers from IBM Indonesia are making a difference by teaching IT skills to children who are confined in juvenile detention facilities.
Netherlands: Volunteer utilizes Smarter Healthcare to find a cure
After losing his young son to a rare brain tumor, IBM Netherlands sales manager John Emmerik was inspired to help others.
Worldwide: Volunteers impacting communities around the world - Part 2
On Demand Community Excellence Award Winner Updates – Part 2
Brazil: Volunteers Work to Make Copacabana a Model of Sustainability
Dorival Roman Jr. and a partnership of not-for-profits help Rio de Janeiro reduce, reuse, recycle.
Worldwide: Volunteers impacting communities around the world - Part 1
On Demand Community Excellence Award Winner Updates – Part 1
Worldwide: Excellence Award winners announced
Ten global IBM volunteer teams build on the Centennial Year of Service.
Worldwide: Teaming up to drive healthcare innovation
IBM volunteer mentors encourage the creation of new innovative healthcare solutions.
Taiwan: Helping small not-for-profits in Taiwan
In Taiwan, Bruce Ke and AIESEC work to match not-for-profits with resources, volunteers.
Pennsylvania: ABC – Helping kids reach their potential
Diane Nissen volunteers with A Better Chance to help young men take control of their future.
Georgia: A healthy response
IBMers volunteered in Community Health Centers across the United States.
Japan: IT skills still important in retirement
Koichi Morinaga developed an IT curriculum for elementary schools.