SOURCE: IBM

August 01, 2008 10:39 ET

IBM and Bridgespan Act to Enhance the Nonprofit Sector Talent Pool

IBM Employees and Retirees Business Expertise Could Help Fill Void

ARMONK, NY and BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - August 1, 2008) - IBM (NYSE: IBM) and The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit organization supporting nonprofits with strategy consulting and executive recruiting, are teaming to address the shortage of leaders in the nonprofit sector by helping interested IBM employees transition to second careers in nonprofits.

More than 640,000 new nonprofit leaders will be needed by 2016 according to "The Nonprofit Sector's Leadership Deficit," a Bridgespan study, largely due to baby boomer retirement and overall sector growth. At the same time, nonprofits are under increasing pressure to demonstrate results, which is leading some to reach out for skills that business leaders might bring.

"Boomers are planning to work longer than their parents did, and millions want work that is meaningful, both personally and to society, but the transition isn't an easy one," says Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures, a think tank focused on boomers and work. "This partnership between IBM and Bridgespan will provide a clear path from the end of a midlife career to an encore career for the greater good. It's a great service for employees and a model for other employers to follow."

IBM and Bridgespan's Bridgestar initiative (www.bridgestar.org) will build a program and online platform to help IBM employees and retirees understand the transition into the nonprofit sector. The program will include access to tools and content that help users assess their readiness for the transition, identify potential opportunities and skills required, apply for available job opportunities with nonprofits, and receive mentoring. After the pilot with IBM, the tools and resources developed will be made available for other nonprofits and corporations to start similar initiatives.

"A balanced management team that combines the best in for profit management disciplines such as marketing, human resources, information technology, and finance with those with top expertise in social service management, program development, research, evaluation, fund development and nonprofit governance has enabled us to grow dramatically and deliver the best service," said Judy Vredenburgh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. "As an organization that serves the welfare of children, it is important that we run it in the most effective and efficient way possible."

In 2005, IBM launched Transition to Teaching, enabling employees interested in a second career to become K-12 math and science teachers. This initiative expands on that and IBM's On Demand Community, a global volunteer effort in which more than 100,000 employees currently participate. These employees are sharing their time and talent to improve their local schools, community organizations and non profits.

"Our employees have a high level of skills and ability in management and technology that can be applied to serving our communities," said Stanley S. Litow, vice president of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, IBM. "We believe that this transition program is the kind of corporate leadership and partnership with nonprofits that is necessary to make a significant difference to society, to the employee and to the company."

According to the Bridgespan Group, identifying and connecting new pools of talent to sector opportunities is critical to nonprofit organizations' ability to achieve their missions. Individuals with functional business skills, such as operations, finance, marketing and communications, and technology have the potential to be great assets, both as board members and potential leaders in nonprofit organizations.

"We are delighted to be partnering with IBM to build on the success of the On Demand Community," said David L. Simms, managing partner of the Bridgestar initiative. "IBM and Bridgespan share an important objective: to educate about the nonprofit sector and connect interested individuals to opportunities to serve. The program we are jointly building has the potential to reach and influence a very significant talent pool. We hope that there will be mutual benefit--IBM employees and retirees contributing their skills and experiences, and nonprofits able to realize greater impact as a result."

The program is an initiative under IBM's Global Citizen's Portfolio announced last July by Samuel Palmisano, CEO of IBM. The Global Citizen's Portfolio is a suite of programs to help employees succeed in a globally integrated economy. The program expands earlier enhanced transitions services efforts, including a pilot program with the Partnership for Public Service to match IBM employees with open jobs in the federal government. This program builds off of the company's original successful Transition to Teaching initiative. More than 100 employees are participating in the Transition to Teaching program, and it has been adopted by other companies and governments.

Bridgestar

Bridgestar (www.bridgestar.org), an initiative of the Bridgespan Group, provides talent-matching services, content, and tools designed to help organizations build strong leadership teams and individuals pursue career paths as nonprofit leaders. Bridgestar's goal is to attract, connect, and support senior talent, leading to greater organizational effectiveness and social impact.

For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com

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