A huge attraction to the CSC program for me was the ability to make an impact on a new community. However, you cannot ignore the importance of making an impact on where you live. So, while I can’t tackle improving eLiteracy rates in Ohio like I will in South Africa, I have thought about how I can contribute to making my community better.
One that isn’t such a big stretch for me is my day-to-day job with IBM’s Procurement. I have the privilege to manage a program called Supplier Connection that strives to create jobs in the US by helping small businesses. Specifically, it connects small business suppliers in the USA to Corporate supply chains. We have over 25 large corporate members who spent over $1.5B with Supplier Connection suppliers last year — that’s putting a lot of revenue into US small businesses!
Another very easy way (for me atleast) is to donate my hair. I’ve done it a few times already with the most recent donation just 2 weeks ago to Pantene Beautiful Lengths — a partnership between Pantene® and the American Cancer Society®. You provide atleast 8 inches of hair and Pantene provides the funds to turn this hair into free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer. So far, Pantene has donated 24,000 free real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks, which distribute wigs to cancer patients across the country. I’ve even got my daughter in on the action — she donated 2 years ago and will be ready to donate again by the end of the summer.
Community Grant for Evamere – Another of IBM’s corporate social responsibility programs is Community Grants. IBM provides funds, skills and equipment to those places its employees are willing to roll up their sleeves and volunteer. Any employee who volunteers 40 or more hours at an approved non-profit or school can apply for a Community Grant that range in size based on what type of work you did. Through work at my daughter’s Kindergarten school, I was able to secure $1,000 in funding from IBM to go towards the purchase of a SMART Board for Mrs. Farmer’s room. A SMART Board is an interactive whiteboard where a projector projects the image from your computer screen onto the board. Teachers and students can then come up to the board and “touch” it, write on it, etc. Basically, it allows you to become the mouse that is attached to the computer.