IBM will celebrate its centennial anniversary this week by having up to 400,000 employees worldwide skip the usual office work in order to donate time to charitable causes and schools.
This "Celebration of Service" will take place on June 15, one day before the actual IBM anniversary.
IBMers are being encouraged to pick projects that use their technical skills -- and some charitable organizations say they know exactly how they plan to put them to work.
Family Services of Westchester, for instance, expects two dozen IBMers to march into the not-for-profit private agency's headquarters this week to work on programming a website and database. The goal is to set up a user-friendly way for older adults who can no longer drive a car to schedule a ride organized by the agency, says Lynn Green, vice president at Family Services of Westchester, describing the goal of RideConnect.
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Other do-good projects are expected in far-flung spots from Santiago, Chile, where IBM staffers are advising women entrepreneurs on aspects of business, to Byron, Minn., where 40 IBM employees are engaged in a science program at public schools. IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano is expected to volunteer in the Baltimore public school system where he grew up.
IBM's "Celebration of Service" won't, of course, result in all of IBM's 400,000-plus employees going off duty at once. The company is staggering the day-of-service projects throughout this week. Some projects are involved enough that they won't end after a week.
IBM says it has had a volunteer program in place since 2003 called On Demand Community that links employees and retirees to activities based on their skills, and as of last year, it surpassed 11.5 million hours of service by more than 170,000 participants.