IBM donates more than 2.5 Million hours of volunteer service to communities worldwide

ARMONK, NEW YORK, June 15, 2011 – IBM today announced that as part of its Celebration of Service, a program designed for employees, retirees and business partners, to donate their time and expertise during the company’s Centennial year, more than 300,000 IBMers around the world, close to three quarters of its global workforce, are volunteering in more than 5,000 projects in 120 countries, meeting civic challenges and societal challenges serving millions in need.

Since January 2011, IBMers, retirees and their families, have donated more than 2.5 million hours of service to communities worldwide. More than half of IBM’s workforce is participating in skills based volunteering in communities today. The company is also enlisting its business partners and clients as part of the celebration.

In Canada, skills-based volunteering is an essential lifeline for the not-for-profit sector. 54% of non-profits rely exclusively on skilled volunteers to carry out their missions.* IBM Canada volunteers are contributing more than 137,000 hours of volunteer service.

“To commemorate our 100 years as a corporation, IBM is sharing the best skills of our talented employees here in Canada, to make a lasting impact in the communities where we work and live,” said Bruce Ross, President, IBM Canada Ltd. “Working together with our partners, retirees and families, we believe we can solve critical problems and help build a smarter planet. We are building on our strong heritage of service – the commitment to service our communities and make the world a better place to live is in IBM’s DNA.”

“By bringing together its employees, retirees, partners and community members, IBM is undertaking the largest service challenge, of its kind, we have seen to date,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute. “They are creating not only an impact on communities, but they are applying the unique and powerful IBM assets to catalyze a movement around service. We commend them for celebrating 100 years of corporate civic leadership in such a remarkable way,”

The IBM Celebration of Service spans more than 120 countries where IBMers live and conduct business. Today, June 15, is the day before IBM officially recognizes its founding 100 years ago, and culminates months of volunteering with an official IBM Centennial Day of Service.

A selection of IBM Celebration of Service volunteer activities on June 15 include:

  • In Calgary, IBMers are working with Mayor Naheed Nenshi and 159 non-profits to teach social media skills to better connect communities.
  • In Ontario, IBMers are working with Destination ImagiNation to conduct creativity camps for Grade six students. These encourage creative thinking and increase problem solving skills. Over 445 volunteers are participating in the GTA effort – one the largest single Celebration of Service volunteer teams worldwide.
  • In Toronto, IBMers are working with Ostomy Toronto to help re-image the association and raise awareness of the social stigma’s associated with ostomy so ostomates can better connect through social media, share their experiences and embrace life.
  • In Ottawa, IBMers are delivering a series of workshops to families needing Alzheimer's and related dementias services to allow them to become more self sufficient over the Web.
  • In New Zealand, IBMers will work with Age Concern to assist senior citizens to use their mobile phone technology helping them prepare their mobile devices for an emergency such as natural disasters, earthquakes or personal health issues.
  • Together, IBM and its client Citigroup are partnering to improve literacy and technology awareness. In Mexico, with The Hunger Project, the companies are leveraging an IBM Reading Companion project to help reduce the level of illiteracy among the indigenous population which will improve their overall quality of life.


In addition to the millions of hours IBM’s employees, retirees, families, and partners are donating, IBM is also donating some of its most successful volunteer activity kits such as a solar car experiment, a clean water project and Internet safety for children. These volunteer kits provide “how-to” instructions and step-by-step details to successfully implement a volunteer activity in the community. They are aimed to inspire volunteers to connect with their communities and help create a smarter planet. Anyone can visit www.ibm100/service to access service activity kits.
As part of its centennial celebration, IBM will deliver hundreds of new service grants, valued at more than $12 million, which support employee-driven volunteer activities. The service grants include cash and equipment awards. These new technology and cash grants expand IBM’s commitment to communities by 140 percent over last year. Three Canadian organizations, Destination ImagiNation, the Ottawa Food Bank and the Alzheimer’s Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County will receive $10,000 grants.

Earlier this year, the company released “The Systems of Service,” a white paper (PDF, 5.49MB) with findings from a Service Jam, an online brainstorming event that brought together 15,000 experts from non-profit organizations, corporations, academic institutions and government agencies across ideology and geography to discuss “Service as a Solution.” The intent of the Jam was to begin a global conversation about improving the delivery of service in the 21st century. The white paper concluded that there are new steps needed in the service industry in the areas of: service learning and incorporating volunteer service into school curriculum, measuring impact of service, and ways that non profits can prepare to receive volunteers, and corporations can offer volunteers.
About IBM: For more information on the IBM Centennial, visit:

*Centre for Voluntary Research and Development, Carleton University.
Editors: Visit IBM’s Centennial press room to obtain historical images, a snapshot of milestones and a fact sheet visit

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