Skip to main content

Communities

Engagement,
expertise and sustainable service

Innovative products and services are the driving forces behind IBM’s vision of a smarter planet. These solutions combine technologies—such as grid computing, analytics, modeling and simulation, automated language translation, and cloud computing—with the expertise of IBMers to meet the needs of our clients. IBM’s approach to societal challenges follows the same formula.

 

We work with local leaders to identify their most enduring problems, mobilize our technological and human resources, and deploy strategic and deliberate solutions. Among the challenges our partners identify as most pressing are education, healthcare, disaster response, water and food, jobs and economic growth, and urbanization.

From designing smarter cities in Vietnam through the Corporate Service Corps to the fast response to disasters such as typhoons in the Philippines or the earthquake in Haiti, the benefits of these solutions accrue at the community level. But IBMers know that it’s not just innovative services that improve the quality of life in these communities; it’s how you engage, and how long you stick around.

Because we have so methodically aligned our community service efforts to our areas of business expertise, we are able to engage longer and more meaningfully. This is not checkbook philanthropy. This is sustained and engaged partnership for positive change. And it allows us to scale our programs over time and form lasting, collaborative partnerships through which we can both transfer knowledge and build capacity. This staying power can be seen in all of our programs, from those that develop innovative ways to help children learn to read, to those that expand our understanding of persistent diseases such as cancer, AIDS and dengue fever.

Through these and other programs, IBMers are laying the foundations for true community collaboration. The organizations and local entities we work with are starting to combine technological capabilities with societal innovation. They are sharing information and making better decisions about the well-being of their constituents. And they are building smarter communities.

 

Key Performance Indicator

Global Contributions

We continue to focus on emphasizing technology and services contributions worldwide. Non-U.S. contributions continue to increase in accordance with strategy.

Goal: Maintain or increase total level of contributions globally, as well as the percentage of technology and services and the percentage contributed outside of the U.S.

Additional corporate responsibility performance metrics are available on our Performance Data Summary page.

2009 Contributions by Issue
Dollars in Millions

Human Services: $15.0;
Health: $4.2;
Higher/Other Education**: $92.4;
K–12 Education: $44.0;
Environment: $4.7;
Culture: $5.7;
Other*: $19.

2009 Contributions by Geography
Dollars in Millions

Asia Pacific: $45.4;
Europe, Middle East & Africa: $35.2;
Latin America: $19.8;
U.S.: $77.1;
Canada: $8.4;

2009 Contributions by Type
Dollars in Millions

Cash:$40.3;
Technology:$102.2;
Technical Services/Personnel:$43.4

* Includes Community and Economic Development activity for small and medium businesses (SMB) and Corporate Service Corps.
** Includes Academic Initiatives software donations.
 

On Demand Community

IBMers engage in volunteer efforts by applying their specific skills and knowledge. They find opportunities to do this through a portfolio of unique internal tools provided by On Demand Community, IBM’s volunteer and community service initiative. Launched in 2003, it enables IBMers to find volunteer activities and identify skills and expertise they can contribute to a cause. It equips volunteers to empower community organizations with better project management skills, show them how to develop technology strategies, and more. Volunteers also use On Demand Community resources to visit classrooms, sharing their expertise and enthusiasm for science and technology with students around the world.

By tracking their volunteer hours in the On Demand Community portal, IBM employees and retirees can help the schools and nonprofit organizations they support to qualify for IBM Community Grants. In 2009, this program made grants worth $3.5 million. In June 2010, the program passed 10 million hours logged since inception by its nearly 150,000 participants, including 15,000 retirees. And On Demand Community continues to add new resources and service opportunities every year.

“In the past decade, community and national service efforts in America have continued to ramp up to historic levels, providing more opportunities for individuals to address challenges near and far, from the high school dropout epidemic in U.S. cities, to preventable and treatable malaria in Africa. Americans increasingly are asking how their volunteer efforts can make a difference in tackling tough problems, and America’s companies are sparking innovations in the social sector by mobilizing their employees’ special skills to meet community needs. One example is IBM’s On Demand Community, a novel initiative that combines the skills of employees with innovative technology solutions. More of what is needed today is what corporations provide, and IBM is leading the way in bringing social innovation to volunteer efforts.”
John M. Bridgeland CEO, Civic Enterprises, and former Director,
White House Domestic Policy Council and
USA Freedom Corps, Washington, DC
 

Education

For nearly 100 years, IBMers have valued education at all levels. Education is both a social and economic imperative. And over time, IBM has identified specific challenges at every step of the education spectrum, from improving the quality of early childhood education to developing more and better teachers. This commitment has yielded a portfolio of long-running education programs that continue to grow and improve every year.

 

Serious Gaming

In 2009 IBM developed a free 3-D simulation game that allows students and faculty to model business process management at a fictional company. INNOV8 2.0’s protagonist, Logan, is charged with improving the efficiency of After Inc., a call center agency that is performing sub-optimally. More than 1,000 schools worldwide have downloaded the game and more than 100 universities have built custom curricula around it.

In 2009 IBM developed a free 3-D simulation game that allows students and faculty to model business process management at a fictional company. INNOV8 2.0’s protagonist, Logan, is charged with improving the efficiency of After Inc., a call center agency that is performing sub-optimally.
 

Early childhood education is a challenge across the globe, but it is particularly difficult in areas where students find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide. Starting in 1998, IBM began donating brightly colored PCs loaded with award-winning software to allow young children to explore technology in a fun and easy way. These KidSmart Young Explorer units are designed to help children learn shapes, colors, numbers and letters, all while developing basic IT skills along the way. The program has donated more than 45,000 units in 60 countries, and given more than 10 million children an effective head start toward academic success.

It is well known that literacy is a key contributor to the competitiveness and economic growth of any region. It is so critical, in fact, it is now considered a basic civil right. Reading Companion® is IBM’s Web-based literacy initiative that uses voice recognition technology to help children and adults to learn to read. The software listens as students read words and phrases that appear on the screen, correcting pronunciation as needed, and encouraging students along the way. Reading Companion provides a private, un-intimidating setting in which to learn, and is currently in use by more than 1,000 schools in more than 20 countries. The program was first launched more than a decade ago and adds as many as 300 sites every year.

Another education program that is building momentum is ¡TraduceloAhora! (TranslateNow!), IBM’s real-time bidirectional translation technology initiative. Keeping parents actively engaged in their children’s schoolwork is critical to academic success. Using IBM’s WebSphere® to translate both websites and e-mails from English to Spanish (and vice versa), ¡TraduceloAhora! allows Spanish-speaking parents of school children to better communicate with their kids’ English-speaking teachers. It is being used at more than 800 sites in four countries.

Science is the key to innovation. But engaging young students in science and math has become increasingly difficult in some parts of the world, a trend that is of concern to IBMers on multiple levels. To address this, IBM has several programs to spur interest in these critical subject areas. TryScience.org, which is sponsored and powered by IBM, is an online introduction to contemporary science that allows children to interactively experience science projects and science museums around the world. More than 600 museums and science centers participate, and the site has received millions of visitors since its launch in 2000. And 10 years ago, IBM launched its EX.I.T.E. (Exploring Interests in Technology and Engineering) Camps, to empower middle school girls in the fields of math, science, and engineering. EX.I.T.E. Camp provides a safe and supportive environment for hands-on learning as well as a place to meet new friends and create lasting memories. Of the more than 6,000 girls that have attended the camp, 85 percent said they would consider pursuing an engineering or technical-related degree when they go to college.

In 2009, IBM also added a few new educational efforts to its portfolio that focused on universities and students nearing their entry into the workforce. For example, in April IBM hosted a three-day Smarter Planet University Jam, which used a custom-built online collaboration tool to crowd-source insights and innovations on how to improve education, the environment, healthcare, energy use, and our cities. The Smarter Planet University Jam attracted more than 2,000 students and faculty from more than 200 academic institutions on six continents. The process yielded dozens of insights, from how to improve patient control over healthcare records to how to secure a smart grid. View the full results.

 

Veteran Assistance

Last year IBM became a supporter in a nationwide mentoring program dedicated to helping veterans transition from the armed services to a career in private enterprise. American Corporate Partners (ACP) matches mentors from some of the world’s finest companies with returning veterans. The protégés receive counsel and encouragement on everything from mapping their long-term career strategy to writing resumes and interviewing for a specific position.

In addition to matching IBMers with veteran protégés, the company donated its time and expertise to help grow and support this important cause. The IBM SME (small and medium enterprises) Toolkit is a free Web portal with tools to help new enterprises learn and implement new business practices and compete more effectively with large businesses. It offers more than 500 interactive tools, business forms, and how-to articles. It has been translated into 16 different languages. And it’s available through the ACP website. In addition, IBMers worked to build some of the back-office computer systems that support the operations of American Corporate Partners.

“The IBM team has been great and very responsive, the final product is outstanding and we have received a lot of value from the in-kind contribution—likely a lot more than we could have purchased for cash. In short, I believe we were treated as if we were a major, paying client of IBM.”
SIDNEY E. GOODFRIEND Founder, American Corporate Partners
New York, New York
 

Trailblazer Grants

In 2009 IBM reoriented its grant program to offer nonprofit organizations some of the same services and expertise we provide to for-profit clients. Designed for small- and mid-sized local organizations, the new portfolio of nine software, services and consulting grants helps nonprofits develop their IT infrastructure and their leadership, management and technology skills. The grants include consulting services for strategic planning, workshops on leadership and collaboration skills, hacker vulnerability assessments, data backup services, and software tools such as LotusLive and Lotus® Foundations. Following a pilot phase with 30 nonprofit companies in the United States, IBM announced the Trailblazer Grants program in April 2010, with international availability and 150 grants valued at $1.5 million planned for 2010.

 

Disaster Response

For decades IBM employees have rallied in response to natural disasters around the world, donating money, time, and technology to aid in disaster management and recovery efforts. But our approach is not only to address the acute needs in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, but also to provide critical capabilities that are systematic and repeatable, enabling faster and smarter responses in the future, even to unforeseen disasters.

Throughout 2009, IBMers responded to brushfires in Australia, typhoons in the Philippines, H1N1 outbreaks in Mexico, floods in Vietnam and India, and, of course, the devastating earthquake in Haiti. From developing emergency communications infrastructure to providing servers and software for missing persons registries, asset tracking, and logistics management, IBMers consistently contribute their expertise to assist in these efforts. For example, floods in India and the Philippines and the earthquake in China (2008), led to the deployment of Sahana, an integrated, free open-source disaster management system, designed to run rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.

IBM assisted the Chilean Red Cross following the February 2010 earthquake in Chile, including at a school in Bucalemu, south of Santiago.

In Haiti, though the company maintains no presence in the country, IBM worked in coordination with World Vision, a leading global NGO, to develop a sophisticated vehicle tracking system. For longer-term recovery, IBM is also creating a design plan for a mobile Humanitarian Data Center that can be installed when the telecommunications and grid infrastructure are stronger. Both solutions will be reuseable in other situations going forward.

To date, IBM employees around the world have donated more than $1.1 million through the employee payroll program, which allows IBMers to automatically contribute to charitable causes through their paycheck. And IBMers are continuing to volunteer as we we identify opportunities in their communities through On Demand Community.

Chile Earthquake

IBM assisted the Chilean Red Cross following the February 2010 earthquake, including at a school in Bucalemu (above), south of Santiago.

IBM Disaster Response (since 2001)

2001 New York City, September 11
Gujarat, India, earthquake
2004 Thailand, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, tsunami
2005 U.S. Gulf Coast, hurricanes
Katrina and Rita
Mexico, hurricanes/flooding
Pakistan, earthquake
2006 Indonesia, Mt. Merapi, volcano/earthquake
Guinsaugon, Philippines, landslides
2007 San Diego, wildfires
Peru, earthquake
Tabasco, Mexico, flooding
Indonesia, mud slides
Bangladesh, cyclone
Sri Lanka, flooding
2008 Myanmar, cyclone Nargis
Sichuan Province, China, earthquake
Bihar, India, flooding
2009 Mexico, H1N1 response
Atlanta CDC, H1N1 response
server donation
Philippines, typhoon Ketsana/Ondoy
Indonesia, earthquakes
Vietnam, flooding
Italy, earthquake
Taiwan, typhoon
Kamataka and Andhra Pradesh, India, flooding
Victoria, Australia, bush fires
2010 Haiti, earthquake
Chile, earthquake
“The January earthquake in Haiti stretched World Vision’s capacity in new ways, especially regarding emergency-related IT solutions. IBM’s partnership and expertise were invaluable to our response efforts, producing innovation under tight timelines. Having access to such invaluable industry expertise also builds our knowledge base, making us more capable for future responses. The business case that IBM helped to create offered a big-picture look at the role of aid workers and how the information they work with can best be captured and utilized. IBM’s recommendations, along with real-life experience from World Vision’s pilots, create a comprehensive package that can be utilized by other NGOs. IBM’s expertise and support has had a significant impact not just on World Vision, but the entire emergency relief community.”
Keith D. Kall Executive Director, Corporate Development
World Vision, Federal Way, Washington, D.C.
 

Humanitarian Supercomputing

IBM launched World Community Grid® in November 2004, making it available to researchers and volunteers looking to solve humanitarian problems using technology. The network uses the idle processing power of computers made available by volunteers worldwide—more than 1.5 million devices from 500,000 participants as of June 2010. Researchers are using this power (more than 300,000 years worth of computing run time so far) to better understand some of the world’s most persistent and debilitating afflictions, from dengue fever to muscular dystrophy.

In 2009 the grid had another busy year. In March the Help Fight Childhood Cancer project by the Chiba Cancer Center Research Institute in Japan was launched. The mission of the project is to use World Community Grid to find drugs that can disable three particular proteins associated with neuroblastoma, one of the most frequently occurring solid tumors in children. The project is set to be completed in the second half of 2010, but the global network has already contributed more than 15,000 CPU years, and dramatically reduced the time and cost of the research.

In addition, The Scripps Research Institute is using the grid to screen millions of compounds against various HIV proteins to identify drugs that could prevent AIDS from spreading in the body. The screenings of compound libraries have identified promising leads which could potentially disable the HIV protease in a new and different manner from prior inhibitors. This new way of inhibiting the HIV protease might prove to be a significant breakthrough and advance over conventional inhibitors, which are defeated by the frequent mutations of the AIDS virus.

Anyone can join World Community Grid and donate idle PC processing capacity by visiting worldcommunitygrid.org.

“One of the most important problems in treating HIV-infected people is the evolution of drug resistance, as the virus adapts to the drugs being given. Current FDA-approved drugs bind to a particular site on the virus. We’ve discovered a new site, a foothold for new drugs to attack the virus. Our work uses computers to estimate how chemicals bind to particular viral target sites. This is a huge computational task, since the number of possible variations is so large. World Community Grid enabled this research by providing resources on a scale we couldn’t otherwise have gotten. Thanks to volunteers donating their PC power, we’ve used over 100,000 years of processor time for this project, collapsing years of computational research into months or weeks. World Community Grid has made a significant difference in our work on the evolution of new treatments for AIDS.”
Dr. Arthur J. Olson The Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla, California
 
500,000

members in 200 countries with 1.4 million devices and over 300,000 years worth of computing run time used for various scientific explorations, such as screening millions of compounds against various HIV proteins.

The Scripps Research Institute is using the World Community Grid to screen millions of compounds against various HIV proteins to identify drugs that could prevent AIDS from spreading in the body.

Next Section: Environment