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June 08, 2012

IBM’s Centennial Celebration of Service Wins PRSA 2012 Best of Silver Anvil Award

Largest Corporate Volunteer Event in History Reaches Communities in 120 Countries

NEW YORK (June 8, 2012) —
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) presented the 2012 Best of Silver Anvil Award to the “Centennial Celebration of Service” campaign, a year-long, professional skills-based volunteerism initiative that attracted 88 percent of IBM’s 400,000-plus member workforce and supported local community organizations worldwide. The announcement was made last night during the PRSA Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony, held at the Equitable Center in New York City. Developed by Ketchum and IBM, the campaign was selected as the best of 143 public relations programs nominated for a Silver Anvil Award, the icon of best public relations practices.
“The ‘Centennial Celebration of Service’ represents the best of the best in this year’s record submittal of Silver Anvil candidates,” said PRSA Chair and CEO Gerard Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA. “The IBM initiative not only represents outstanding strategic public relations programming, but also reflects a growing and important trend in corporations tapping the talent of employees and reaching out to their various communities to involve, engage and support. It also stands as a hallmark for other firms to emulate, and is proof of Winston Churchill’s words, ‘You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.’ Our hats are off to IBM and Ketchum for volunteerism and PR programming well done.”

IBM's Jon Iwata (r) and Ketchum's Rob Flaherty (l) were awarded the Best of Silver Anvil Award for the campaign, "Centennial Celebration of Service."
IBM celebrated its 100-year anniversary as a corporation on June 16, 2011. To commemorate this milestone, it looked for a unique way to celebrate — one that could leave an impression on a global scale. IBM began this initiative in October 2010 with a “Service Jam,” a worldwide dialogue with more than 15,000 employees, innovators, philanthropists, volunteers and students from 119 countries. The online brainstorm centered on volunteerism and service as a means to create positive change, and included special guests, such as former President George H. W. Bush and U.N. Secretary-General Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers.
This culminated in IBM’s Centennial Day of Service on June 15, 2011, with many activities, such as partnering with its client, Citigroup, to improve literacy and technology awareness in Mexico with “The Hunger Project”; supporting Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker and local schools through multiple activities centered around having fun with math and science; and hosting science fairs throughout India to promote and demonstrate the importance of science to school children.  
“IBM's Centennial celebrated how a unique company has been making a difference in society for 100 years, and is still doing so today,” said Edward Barbini, vice president, external relations, IBM. “IBM and our partners at Ketchum are proud of the stellar communications results we earned, and we are also proud of the efforts of hundreds of thousands of IBMers who gave their time and talent to making the world a smarter and better planet as part of the largest corporate volunteerism project in history. IBM is grateful to PRSA for honoring our work and these volunteer efforts with the 2012 Best of Silver Anvil Award.”
Since January 2011, IBM employees, retirees and their families have donated more than 2.5 million hours of service to more than 5,000 projects in 120 countries, serving millions in need. By engaging with local communities on large-scale volunteer projects, IBM sought to make an impact that required more than “checkbook philanthropy” while expressing its brand and values to the world.
“The Celebration of Service” became the largest corporate service activity in history. Volunteer projects included IBM’s then CEO Samuel Palmisano teaching Baltimore middle school students about the importance of math and science; volunteers in California installing solar panels in low-income houses; IBMers in Uruguay mentoring youth from impoverished neighborhoods in finding their first jobs; and IBM employees in New Zealand teaching senior citizens how to send text messages.
“This is just one example of why it's such a privilege for Ketchum to work with IBM,” said Rob Flaherty, senior partner and president, Ketchum. “We consistently get to work on major projects that are global in scale and really make a difference in business and society. This project gave us the opportunity to show what our global network of offices can really do. Thank you to the PRSA for recognizing our combined team with this tremendous honor.”
“The Celebration of Service” builds on IBM’s flagship volunteer program, On Demand Community, which was launched in 2003 and attracts employees and retirees from around the world who access the program’s materials, volunteer activities and grants. This program allows IBM to contribute technology and expertise to develop and sustain strong communities by building on the success and assets of IBM’s award-winning corporate citizenship and corporate affairs programs. During “The Celebration of Service,” IBM also expanded their grants program to allow employees to propose service projects that addressed their local community needs.
“It is only fitting that IBM won the ‘best of” competition this year,” said James J. Roop, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2012 Awards and Honors Committee chair, and president of Roop & Co., Cleveland, Ohio. “The company and Ketchum received five Silver Anvils for different events and programs surrounding its 100th anniversary. A series of great work to support a milestone anniversary for an iconic brand truly exemplifies what the Best of Silver Anvil represents.”
About the Silver Anvils
The Silver Anvil Awards program has grown in scope and stature since its inception in 1946, and awards are now given in 59 categories and subcategories. In the 60-plus-year history of the Silver Anvils, many organizations have been recognized, including solo practitioners, agencies of all sizes, large and small businesses, top corporations, nonprofits, associations and government agencies. Visit the Silver Anvil Award website for a complete list of 2012 winners.
About the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for thebusiness value of public relationsandgreater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 111 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities.
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