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IBM Bolsters Employee Volunteerism During Centennial Year

Company more than doubles community service grants as part of its centennial commemoration

Published 04-27-11

Submitted by IBM

IBM is marking the 100-year anniversary of its founding on June 16, 1911 with global initiatives to engage in new ways with business leaders, academia, clients and communities in the 170 countries where it does business. (PRNewsFoto/IBM)

/PRNewswire/ - As part of its centennial celebration, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced hundreds of new service grants that support employees' volunteer activities to build a smarter planet. The new technology and cash grants expand IBM's commitment to communities worldwide by 140 percent over the previous year.

IBM is marking the 100-year anniversary ( of its founding on June 16, 1911 with several global initiatives to engage in new ways with business leaders, academia, clients, and local communities in the 170 countries where the company does business.

To help commemorate this centennial and build on IBM's long tradition of community service, tens of thousands of IBMers around the world are volunteering their time and talent throughout 2011 in support of smarter planet initiatives. These efforts make up a global 'Celebration of Service' ( in which IBMers get out into their communities and apply their expertise to the most pressing civic challenges and societal needs. The focal point of the year-long Celebration of Service will be June 15, when it is expected that tens of thousands of IBMers, retirees and partners will participate in a range of meaningful service projects in communities around the world.

For example, to support National Engineers' Week and IBM's Smart Water initiative, a team of IBM volunteers developed a project called the 'Skittle Sifter.' Along with learning how to effectively work in teams on an engineering problem, students at South Avenue Elementary School in Beacon, New York learned the concept of water filtration. Watch this example of skills-based volunteerism:

"IBM has a deep heritage of making a substantive contribution to communities, starting with the company's founder, Thomas Watson Senior," said Stanley S. Litow, vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and president of the IBM Foundation. "Since 2003, IBMers have provided more than 11 million hours of skills-based volunteer service in communities around the world; more than any other company. Today's announcement of new community service grants will enhance their efforts to partner with communities and help build a smarter planet."

To extend its leading model of service beyond IBM's employees and retirees to their families, friends and neighbors, the company is making its volunteer assets available to the public. IBM's Celebration of Service will build on established volunteer programs, recruit new service leaders, and partner with additional outside organizations. Anyone can visit to pledge volunteer hours and access a portfolio of free service activity kits available in seven languages.

In addition, IBM is making three types of grants available in 2011:

  • Centennial Grants are $100,000 awards to fund projects that apply IBM's smarter planet strategies to community service. IBM is making ten Centennial grants available in 2011 through employees, to apply to the organizations with which they volunteer.

  • Catalyst Grants provide $10,000 to support projects by volunteer teams that apply their professional skills or improve their communities' sustainability. There are 100 Catalyst grants available in 2011 through employees, to apply to the organizations with which they volunteer.

  • Community Grants are awards of $500 to $5,000 in cash or $1,000 to $7,500 in technology for individual or team projects that give back to the community with or without the use of an IBM solution or technology. IBM employees and retirees qualify for Community grants based on the number of volunteer hours and number of people volunteering.

IBM's Celebration of Service builds on the company's flagship program for empowering volunteers called the On Demand Community. Launched in 2003, the On Demand Community enables employees and retirees to find volunteer activities and identify skills and expertise they can contribute to a specific cause. In October 2010, On Demand Community surpassed 11.5 million hours of service logged by more than 170,000 participants.

IBM's Centennial Celebration of Service is sponsored by the international philanthropic foundation at IBM, which has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and corporate citizenship for 100 years. To learn more about IBM's corporate citizenship initiatives, please visit:

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Innovation – joining invention and insight to produce important, new value – is at the heart of what we are as a company. And, today, IBM is leading an evolution in corporate citizenship by contributing innovative solutions and strategies that will help transform and empower our global communities.

Our diverse and sustained programs support education, workforce development, arts and culture, and communities in need through targeted grants of technology and project funds. To learn more about our work in the context of IBM's broader corporate responsibility efforts, please visit Innovations in Corporate Responsibility.

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