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Celebration of Service

United Way Peru and IBM volunteers — a winning combination

Volunteers help rebuild schools, distribute school supplies to the needy, and collect winter clothing

United Way Peru (UWP) is a not–for–profit organization based in Lima, founded in 2002 by a group of private companies, including IBM. The organization strives to make a difference in Peruvian communities by promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and efforts. To this purpose, IBM employees Deborah Avilez, Claudia Elias and Stefan Camp volunteered to lead an effort to help the local workforce develop CSR insight that would make them better citizens and, as result, lead to better communities. The “Share Project Management Skills” solution in On Demand Community played an important role in planning and implementing the joint project. IBM's On Demand Community is a strategic global online community that combines the skills of over 165,000 IBM employee and retiree volunteers with the power of access to innovative IBM technology, resources, training, and support.

When the team began to work with UWP, 45% of IBM employees in Peru participated in volunteer activities. By the end of 2009, the rate of participation grew to 60%. Last year, more than 280 volunteers engaged in the six different philanthropic activities offered through this program.

In September, 2010, a group of 60 volunteers from IBM, in a joint effort with 20 other companies, restored an entire school north of Lima. The IBM Peru volunteer team had the task of rebuilding and painting the school's dining room, benefiting the 500 students who eat lunch there each day.

A further activity was designed to promote social responsibility themes and insights to employees' children. The children prepared desserts that were sold at an on–site bake sale, and proceeds from the sale of the treats were invested in the volunteer initiatives run jointly by IBM and UWP. Other activities included the "Campaign Against Cold Wave" to collect winter clothing for the poorest residents affected by cold weather in southern Peru, and a campaign to collect school supplies to support education in the neediest schools in the country.

Deborah Avilez, an IBM project administrator, said, "Working with United Way Peru has been an unforgettable experience. I have participated in many of the volunteer activities and seeing the change that is generated — either in the infrastructure of a school or a child's smile — is wonderful."

As a result of the volunteer hours generated, an IBM community grant of a PC, laptop and printer was awarded to UWP. This equipment helped the organization become more effective and better able to serve their partners and the community.

It's not just donated equipment that United Way Peru appreciates. "What we most appreciate is the time and skills donation," said Carmen Marina Cuba, UWP Executive Director. "We have more than 30 corporate partners, but we know that the IBM volunteers are always the most talented, committed and best organized of all. That's why we always ask their support in our most challenging activities and planning."

IBM is marking its centennial year with a worldwide celebration of volunteer service. Throughout 2011, IBM invites everyone to join our global community of employees, retirees, families and friends as we support the communities where we work, live and learn together.