Corporate Citizenship

Building Up Nonprofits in Atlanta’s Westside as New Stadium Opens

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Cooperation to achieve common goals is as old as humanity itself. For me, this was instilled at a young age by my grandmother. Growing up in the working-class neighborhood of Hollis, Queens, we were reminded that we had an obligation to give back to our community. The explanation my grandmother gave was simple and direct. Within our community, there were those who had less and it was our responsibility to help make a difference. She made sure that my brother and I were always involved in community service. Those experiences taught me that when you give of yourself, you learn from yourself and ultimately grow both personally and professionally.

Last week, we announced that IBM is partnering with AMB Sports and Entertainment to deliver an unmatched fan experience at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  Outside the stadium grounds, however, and as part of a unique partnership with The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s Westside Momentum initiative, IBM’s award-winning Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs unit will deliver strategic Impact Grants to support local nonprofits in the Westside neighborhoods surrounding the stadium.

Launched in January of 2015 in partnership with the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, Westside Momentum is a three-year capacity building initiative designed to strengthen and empower up to 50 nonprofits based in Atlanta’s Historic Westside neighborhoods. The program is open to all Westside-based nonprofit organizations and community initiatives looking to strengthen leadership, build infrastructure, and deepen collaborative efforts that can help restore the English Avenue, Vine City, Castleberry Hill neighborhoods as vibrant and thriving communities.

By providing top level consulting expertise, IBM will assist those nonprofits to address issues such as small business growth, education, workplace skills, and social services. The Impact Grant workshops, delivered by IBM and administered by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, will help local nonprofits build capacity and strengthen capabilities to better serve the Westside communities.

As a not-so-recent transplant to Atlanta, this can’t help but feel a bit personal for me. It is truly a defining moment for the City of Atlanta. It is a reflection of what can happen when we pool our resources for a common goal. This partnership brings together the best of public and private institutions to help lift the community by establishing apprenticeship programs and technological advancement for personal, professional and economic growth.

IBM’s commitment to citizen diplomacy began with our founding — with the core values that always have transformed each IBMer into an ambassador for the company. Essential to those core values is the understanding that no single entity, regardless of power or size, can overcome society’s greatest challenges alone. Critical to any significant global undertaking is a diversity of talent, perspective and experience among those who would contribute.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.

It’s in this vein that in a few weeks, IBM employees will give of their time to facilitate training sessions on ‘Leading Organizational Innovation.’ This workshop will help identify and support creative leaders within the participating organizations, as well as consider the leadership risks of the new and unknown. It is designed to help equip the nonprofits to better serve the community.

IBM’s global Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs team includes managers in the nearly 170 countries in which we operate. They apply our global service initiatives to address local needs and help improve the communities where IBMers work and live worldwide. IBM employees and retirees have a long heritage of volunteering. Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs is led locally by Tjuan Dogan. The Westside Momentum initiative is a glowing example of my IBM colleagues and all those who understand the importance in giving of yourself, allows for personal learning, and ultimately personal and professional growth.

For more on IBM’s Impact Grants and involvement the Westside Momentum:

Managing Director, State of Georgia, IBM Global Markets

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