IBM's Corporate Service Corps Marks 5th Year of Volunteerism
"It was a privilege to share our strategies for effective and skilled international corporate volunteerism with the business, government and not for profit communities assembled at the U.S. Department of State today," Litow said in a statement. "We are particularly pleased that so many companies have indicated their interest in operating similar programs. As 2013 marks the fifth successful year of IBM's Corporate Service Corps, we are proud of how sustainably the program helps governments and businesses throughout the globe. The program has also proved transformational for the skills and satisfaction of our employees, and complements IBM's core business strategy. While the model we established is scaled globally, with the aim of truly shaping a Smarter Planet, we feel that aspects of it can be successfully replicated at many organizations.” IBM is pushing a trend in corporate America toward skilled international corporate volunteerism. Washington, DC-based CDC Development Solutions (CDS) -- one of the non-governmental organizations that helps IBM identify suitable projects for Corporate Service Corps -- estimates that in 2006, only six U.S. companies sent 280 employees to four countries, but by 2012, approximately 1700 employees in 24 programs were sent to dozens of countries. “If only 100 of Fortune 500 companies sent 500 of their top talent on such assignments, we could collectively deploy 50,000 of the most talented leaders around the world to solve some of the most difficult problems facing society and, in the process, create remarkable goodwill," IBM’s Litow said in a statement. USAID works with IBM and CDS to increase U.S.-based international corporate volunteerism. The trio operates the online Center of Excellence for Corporate International Volunteerism, which provides companies the strategies needed to make their own international volunteerism projects more effective. To that end, IBM has co-deployed on pro bono engagements with teams from such companies such as FedEx, Citi and John Deere.
Through its work with USAID and CDS, IBM deployed a team of experts to Ghana last year, where they helped formulate a supply chain for medicine. In June of 2012, an IBM team designed an information technology platform for trading energy within East Africa. And an IBM team went to Kazakhstan, where it worked to bolster economic growth.