Community Grant FAQs

2018 Global Community Grant Program

Program closes on October 31, 2018 or when budget is expended, whichever comes first.

Total budget: USD 5 Million
Last updated: 9/6/2018 (based on available data)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: All grants made on behalf of the IBM Corporation, including Community Grants, must be independent of any sales or marketing proposals, or transactions with the eligible organization, or any company affiliated with an officer or director of the eligible organization. The grant is not to influence the eligible organization or its officers or directors to gain an improper advantage for IBM or to win business for IBM. This is in accordance with IBM Corporate Organization Letter 110. All volunteers applying for a grant must solely be applying for the grant based on their volunteer efforts without any of the above intentions, and will be asked to certify to that fact in the application process.

 Overview of Community Grants

 Eligibility

 Awards


Questions & answers

What are IBM Community Grants?

The IBM Community Grants program provides cash to eligible community organizations and schools where IBM employees and retirees are actively volunteering, and in support of eligible projects. Community Grants will continue to be available to regular employees and retirees, featuring individual and team opportunities ranging from $500 to $2,000 in cash.

Don't wait to get started! Your volunteerism counts so start adding your hours now! Remember, the grant amount increases if you or your team uses an IBM Volunteers Activity Kit or professional skills, and the volunteer opportunity is posted on the IBM Volunteers site.

The program will close on September 30, or when the grant funds are expended, whichever comes first.

Approval process, notification, and award presentation

Your local IBM corporate citizenship manager and grants administrator reviews all requests and will contact you directly if additional information is needed. All requesters will be advised of the decision through the local grants administrator (in the United States) or corporate citizenship manager (elsewhere).

  • A check will be made out to the recipient organization.
  • A donation letter will be prepared and sent to the organization by the local grants administrator or corporate citizenship manager.

If your proposal is not approved, you will be notified and given a reason. In some cases, your involvement and the organization may qualify, but the project may not; in this case, you are welcome to reapply for support for another project.

How to apply

In the United States, you can apply online or update a saved draft application at the IBM Community Grants site. In all other countries or regions, please contact your local corporate citizenship manager for the grant application process.

Administrative Condition: IBM may suspend, change or terminate this program at any time. Donors and/or donees may be requested to supply any supporting records and documentation IBM considers necessary. The interpretation, application and administration of these IBM Community Grants Program provisions shall be determined solely by IBM, whose decision shall be final.

Can the funding for the Community Grants program run out?

Yes, it can. There is a pre-established budget each year for Community Grants. All grants are reviewed on a first come, first serve basis. You should apply for a grant as soon as you have met all the requirements.

What is IBM Corporate Organization Letter 110?

The IBM Corporate Organization Letter 110 was approved for implementation on March 12, 2012. This letter states that contributions to non-profits should, in no way, be connected to any sales and marketing proposals or transactions. Contributions may not be made if there is intent to receive any benefit back from the not-for-profit organization (or from officers, directors or trustees of the organization or their respective companies) or if the intent of the contribution is to influence the organization or its officers, trustees or board members to gain improper advantage for IBM. Under no circumstances can any contribution(s) be made as a quid pro quo for a potential business transaction or to win favorable treatment. There can be no reciprocity for a contribution. The IBM team or individual making the contribution or grant is responsible for confirming that the contribution is not connected to any sales and marketing proposals or transactions. As of 2016, all community grant applicants are being asked to formally certify that the grant being requested follows the intent of the letter.

Why isn't Becoming a volunteer  listed as an option when I add my hours or apply for a Community Grant?

Becoming a volunteer, along with six other modules, is designed specifically to give a volunteer an orientation into effective volunteering, working in schools or not-for-profits, or working with certain populations or groups. These educational modules help volunteers tune their skills, but as there is no content in these modules that includes volunteer opportunities in schools or not-for-profits, they are not considered eligible for adding hours or applying for grants.

IBM Volunteers fact sheet

Share this introduction to our program whenever you volunteer, to help schools and not-for-profit organizations understand how IBM supports your work to improve your community.

Download IBM Volunteers fact sheet (46KB)

Sharpen your skills

Improve your volunteering impact by learning about not-for-profit organizations, schools, and more.

Volunteer learning guides

Whom do I contact if my questions are not addressed in these FAQs?

Contact your grant administrator or local corporate citizenship manager regarding issues not addressed in these FAQs.

Am I eligible to apply for a Community Grant?

To qualify, you must

  1. Be one of the following:
    • A regular full-time or part-time IBM employee. Employees approved for Leave of Absence or Disability programs and who are eligible for IBM benefits also qualify.
    • An IBM retiree.
    • Are part of a team of volunteers taking part in a qualified volunteer opportunity.
  2. Add your volunteer hours on the IBM Volunteers site prior to applying for a grant.
  3. Volunteer for a minimum of:
    • Individual w/ 40 hours
    • Team of 3 w/ 100 hours
    • Team of 10 (1/2 IBM serial numbers)

A regular employee or retiree is eligible for two grants per calendar year:

  • One individual grant as a requester and one team grant as a participant
  • One team grant as a requester and one team grant as a participant
  • Two team grants as a participant

The grant recipient is only eligible for one Community Grant per calendar year.

What organizations are eligible?

To qualify, an organization must be a not-for-profit organization or accredited public or private primary or secondary school, college, or university.

The organization must not advocate, support, or practice activities inconsistent with IBM's non-discrimination policies, whether based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran. Documentation demonstrating that the not-for-profit organization complies with the above statement is required. The not-for-profit organization must sign the IBM Affirmation of Compliance form prior to receiving the grant.

Ineligible organizations include those engaged in political activity and lobbying, profit-making agencies, religious programs, employee service organizations (e.g., IBM Clubs), agencies supported by tax revenues, and ones whose purpose is athletics or recreation. IBM reserves the right to determine which organizations are eligible for grants.

An organization may receive only one IBM Community Grant per calendar year, regardless of the number of IBM volunteers who apply for a grant on behalf of that organization. The first volunteer to apply and be approved will receive the grant. If more IBM volunteers are volunteering with the same organization, they should consider applying for one of the team grant options.

Organizations that have been assisted by IBM Community Grants include:

  • K-12 schools
  • Preschools/childcare centers
  • Community and family service agencies
  • Museums and other cultural organizations
  • Libraries
  • Children's Hospitals
  • Organizations aiding the elderly
  • Organizations providing services for people with disabilities

Projects that have been supported by Community Grants include:

  • Mentoring a student during the school year
  • Implementing a technology planning solution for a community organization
  • Ongoing classroom/teacher support and the use of technology (Computer equipment / robotics / IoT) in a preschool and/or non profit organizations
  • Creating and distributing educational materials
  • Developing a hands-on after school science program
  • Preparing and serving meals in a homeless shelter
  • Developing environmental opportunities and educational materials for school children and for non-profit organizations
  • Educational projects

What projects are eligible?

Grant applications must be for a specific project or volunteer opportunity.

Ineligible projects and expenses include:

  • Athletic or recreational activities (camping, sports, etc.)
  • Capital improvements (land purchase, building construction, major building modifications, etc.)
  • Operating expenses (salaries, office supplies, utility bills, etc.)
  • Projects, such as trips or scholarships, that benefit individuals
  • Third-party donations
  • Recurring opportunities or services
  • Auctions, raffles, or fundraising initiatives (e.g. walk-a-thons)

Projects that have been supported by Community Grants include:

  • Mentoring a student during the school year
  • Implementing a technology planning solution for a community organization
  • Ongoing classroom/teacher support and the use of technology (Computer equipment / robotics / IoT) in a preschool and/or non profit organizations
  • Creating and distributing educational materials
  • Developing a hands-on after school science program
  • Preparing and serving meals in a homeless shelter
  • Developing environmental opportunities and educational materials for school children and for non-profit organizations
  • Educational projects

Do I need to add my volunteer time to receive a Community Grant?

Yes. In order to be eligible for a Community Grant, the employee or retiree volunteer must register on the IBM Volunteers site and add their hours.

I am leading a team of more than 25 volunteers, which includes both IBM employees as well as employees from an IBM client. I see that I can apply for a 25-person team grant. How do I show IBM that I had the correct number of people participate, since some are from outside IBM?

In the Community Grants application, you will need to complete the following:

  • Record the serial numbers of the IBM employees or retirees on your team. At least half of the entire team must be IBM volunteers. Thus you must provide 13 or more serial numbers of employees or retirees for a 25-person team grant. The rest of the participants can be a combination of IBM volunteers and client employees, but you do not need to record a serial number for them.
  • US applicants: check off the box in the online application that states that you are verifying that the team did consist of the minimum 25 participants required.
  • Non-US applicants: verify on your grant application that the team did consist of the minimum 25 participants required.
  • Create and keep a full list of all participants, including non-IBM employees and retirees. While this list is not required at the time of the grant, it may requested at a later time for audit purposes.

I have volunteered with 2 other IBM volunteers at a local not-for-profit organization for the last six months, and each of us has averaged 10 hours a month. Do we qualify for the 3-person/100 hour team grant?

Yes. In order to qualify for a 100 hour team grant, a team of three (or more) IBM employees and/or retirees must collectively volunteer a minimum of 100 hours over the course of one year. Each team member is required to be registered on IBM Volunteers and must add their volunteer hours and post the opportunity on the site. The 100 hour team grant provides up to $500 in cash.

We just had a team building volunteer opportunity with 15 volunteers at a local food bank packaging bulk food. Do we qualify for a 10-person community grant?

Yes. All of you need to be registered on the IBM Volunteers site and need to add your volunteer hours. You can apply for a 10-person team grant without the use of an Activity Kit, which means the organization will receive a maximum of $500. Make sure only one person submits a grant request as each not-for-profit organization is eligible for only one community grant per calendar year.

I am a supplemental employee. Am I eligible to apply for a Community Grant?

No. While all full-time and part-time IBM employees, employees of wholly owned subsidiary companies of IBM, supplemental employees, and IBM retirees are encouraged to volunteer, supplemental employees may not apply for or receive a Community Grant.

If I am volunteering for two organizations, can I combine the hours I spend at each organization so they total 40 hours, and then apply for a grant for just one of those organizations?

No. Your 40 hours must be for one organization in order to apply for a grant for that organization.

I logged hours as an employee and now I am a retiree. Do I need to re-enter my earlier hours to get credit for them?

No. You do not need to re-enter the hours you logged as an employee now that you are a retiree. For accounting purposes, employee and retiree hours are captured by separate systems. Although the two systems do not communicate, both sets of hours can be accessed and added together to determine Community Grants eligibility. Once you register as a retiree, you can also contact the help desk, volshelp@us.ibm.com, and they can move all data from your employee ID to your retiree ID so that all information is under one ID.

I did TryScience experiments at a school where I volunteered for a year, about 4 hours a month. What can I receive from the Community Grants program?

As a result of using an IBM Volunteers Activity Kit, you qualify for a $1,000 cash grant. You must add the hours and post the opportunity on the IBM Volunteers site prior to applying for the grant.

If I volunteered with my local hospital for 4 hours last month, do I qualify for a Community Grant?

No. An individual volunteer must work with an eligible not-for-profit organization for at least 40 hours over the course of one year or from the date of the last received community grant before the work becomes eligible for a grant.

I moved to a new IBM location. I plan to keep in touch and will continue to volunteer with the not-for-profit organization. Will my work continue to qualify for a Community Grant?

Yes. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, your project would qualify.

A fellow employee volunteers with a different project at the same not-for-profit organization where I volunteer. Do we both qualify for a Community Grant this year?

No. A not-for-profit organization is only eligible for one Community Grant per calendar year. You may consider finding out if a third IBM employee or retiree volunteers with the organization because then the three of you could combine your volunteer hours and complete a 3-person 100 or 200 hour grant.

What kind of award do I get with a Community Grant?

All grants are cash grants. The value of the grant is determined by whether or not you used an IBM Volunteers Activity Kit or professional skills and how many hours you volunteered, or if there was a large team of volunteers involved.

Community Grants will be offered at three levels – Bronze, Silver, and Gold:

Grant level table
  Bronze Silver Gold

Eligibility requirements:

NOTE: For every grant, the requester and their IBM team members, if a team grant, must have logged their volunteer hours on the IBM Volunteers site.

No approved Activity Kit used

Approved Activity Kit used
(Learning guides are not eligible to be used as an Activity Kit.)

OR

Professional skills used

Opportunity must be posted in IBM Volunteers.

Approved Activity Kit used
(Learning guides are not eligible to be used as an Activity Kit.)

OR

Professional skills used

Opportunity must be posted in IBM Volunteers.

Award: $500 $1,000 $2,000
Volunteer involvement:
  • Individual w/ 40 hours
  • Team of 3 w/ 100 hours
  • Team of 10 (1/2 IBM serial numbers)
  • Individual w/ 40 hours
  • Team of 3 w/ 100 hours
  • Team of 10 (1/2 IBM serial numbers)
  • Individual w/ 100 hours
  • Team of 3 w/ 200 hours
  • Team of 25 (1/2 IBM serial numbers)

Notes:

  • Find Approved Activity KitsActivity Kits
  • Post the volunteer opportunity and add hours in the IBM Volunteers – Click here to post your volunteer opportunity in IBM Volunteers and click here to add your hours.
  • Only 1/2 of the volunteers on the larger (10-person or 25-person) teams need to be full-time regular employees or retirees with valid serial numbers. The other half may come from vendors, clients, business partners, community partners, family, friends, IBM alum or even other IBM employees or retirees.

How many Community Grants can I qualify for in each calendar year?

All IBM regular and retired employees are eligible to apply for:

  • One individual or team grant as a requestor per calendar year
  • One individual grant as a requester and one team grant as a participant
  • One team grant as a requester and one team grant as a participant
  • Two team grants as a participant