USAID, IBM, and CDC Development Solutions Collaborate to Increase Corporate Volunteerism Abroad

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
USAID Press Office


WASHINGTON D.C. – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced that it will work with IBM (NYSE: IBM) and CDC Development Solutions to increase the number of employee volunteers at U.S.-based corporations by providing meaningful assistance to local governments, small businesses, and civic groups in emerging markets abroad.

Employees in these programs will become highly valued "citizen-diplomats," providing skilled service and valuable, practical advice to societies worldwide that are looking to improve local economic opportunities through their health and education systems, technology infrastructure, and urban planning and development.

As a result of the cooperation between USAID, IBM and CDC Development Solutions, corporations large and small looking to start, grow or refine international volunteerism programs will have access to the resources needed to make their projects more effective. As part of the alliance, a self-sustaining virtual "Center of Excellence for International Corporate Volunteerism" (CEICV) will be established. The virtual center's website will function as a forum where companies can exchange best practices, success stories, and timely issues to improve the quality of their services. By the end of the 2-year pilot period, the center will be self-sustaining, funded by membership fees or other sponsorships.

USAID and CDC Development Solutions will provide guidance to members looking to align their volunteerism programs with places and local governments that are most receptive to corporate assistance. This will ensure that their programs are doing the most good in the places that need it the most. The center will provide advice on the skills most in demand and furnish blueprints and recommendations for preparing teams for travels, and for follow-up work. It will also build capability in the countries where volunteer experts are assigned to raise skill levels and improve local conditions.

Until now, corporations had to spend excessive time arranging and designing these programs on a custom basis through trial and error, making it hard to replicate the success of others or even their own success. Consequently, many companies could only muster small numbers of skilled volunteers. Formalizing the planning process is expected to make the initiatives more strategic, efficient and useful. It can also increase the number of volunteers and increase the scale of their contributions.

IBM will share its extensive experiences with large scale international corporate volunteerism, providing access to its inventory of best practices and technology experience. IBM's own program, The Corporate Service Corps, was launched in 2008. By early 2011, the company had dispatched more than 1,000 of its top employees on over 100 engagements in nearly 20 countries. The skilled IBM teams take on issues that improve local economic conditions, support entrepreneurship, as well as enhance transportation, education and basic government services such as health care and disaster recovery. IBM and CDC Development Solutions will provide substantial advice on everything from employee recruitment and training, to managing complex projects and ensuring that engagements align with a company's business goals to achieve maximum results.

This partnership will create a powerful resource for USAID missions around the world by linking an increasing number of international corporate volunteer programs into USAID development strategies. This is expected to magnify the impact of development funds and provide cutting edge skills and technology to beneficiaries of US government assistance. Citizen-diplomats from companies small and large will contribute to solving some of the most critical challenges faced in emerging markets, including food security, sustainable economic growth, global climate adaptation, health, education, IT, and urban development.

“USAID is proud to embark on our first alliance for international corporate volunteerism with IBM and its longstanding partner CDC Development Solutions,” said Bambi Arellano, Counselor to USAID. “The Center of Excellence for International Corporate Volunteerism will provide recipients of USAID support with new resources to grow and thrive. It is our hope that these resources will drive innovation and allow us to achieve a greater return on investments as we push harder toward achieving the millennium development goals. “

The CEICV will have three key goals:

  1. To enhance sustainable development efforts by leveraging the skills and expertise of corporate volunteers to provide pro bono services to NGOs, small businesses, and governments in key countries
  2. To enable companies of all sizes to start and expand international corporate volunteer programs. These will enable their employees to provide needed assistance while developing leadership skills and identifying new ways for their companies to create shared value in emerging markets
  3. To track the development impact of the volunteers' engagement and to create best practices for international corporate volunteerism programs worldwide

The CEICV will be funded by USAID and IBM for at least two years, implemented by CDC Development Solutions, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that has implemented ICV programs for multinational corporations in twenty countries. “We are thrilled to be partnering with these two global leaders,” said Deirdre White, President and CEO of CDC Development Solutions. “We are now poised to tap a tremendous opportunity for engaging companies, large and small, and their skilled employees, to provide critical services to nonprofits and governments in emerging markets. Easy access to such resources will make it easier and considerably more affordable for a broader range of companies to invest and participate in such initiatives.”

"I can think of few more important agencies than USAID and CDC Development Solutions when it comes to helping corporations design and implement corporate volunteerism program abroad," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM's Vice President for Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs. “I see this as a visionary and bold initiative to bring different sectors together to make a real difference. It's a boon to companies and NGOs to champion projects that have the imprimatur of USAID. A USAID-endorsed project means that real investment deserves to be made. Such projects will surely be sustainable, of high quality, and offer a real return on investment."


The U.S. Agency for International Development is the lead agency for the U.S. Government providing economic development and humanitarian assistance to people in need around the world. For more information about the work of USAID, visit

About IBM

IBM is celebrating 100 years of technology and business leadership. To find out more about the creation of the Corporate Service Corps and 100 other iconic moments please visit:

About CDC Development Solutions

Since 1990, CDC Development Solutions has provided innovative and market-driven solutions that empower individuals, businesses, and governments in emerging markets to lead economies towards self-sustained growth and opportunity. Through our Global Citizenship and Volunteerism practice, CDC Development Solutions is a global leader in creating and managing international corporate volunteerism initiatives that provide employees with the opportunity to provide pro bono, on-site expertise to small businesses, NGOs, and governments in emerging markets. For more information, visit


USAID Kathy Hunt, Director, Volunteers for Prosperity, USAID Office of Development Partners

IBM Ari Fishkind, Public Affairs Manager, IBM Corporate Affairs and Citizenship

CDC Development Solutions Kate Ahern, Director of Business Development

Last updated: June 21, 2017

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