Kyndryl launched a foundation to help people worldwide acquire cyber skills needed in underserved communities and drive social impact at scale.
The world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, which released its first Corporate Citizenship Report earlier this month, will focus on tackling the growing, global cybersecurity challenge. For its inaugural grantmaking in 2024, the Kyndryl Foundation expects to invest in non-profit organizations and programs that provide cybersecurity training, career support and resources to underserved communities, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
“We’ve been a purpose-driven company since becoming independent nearly two years ago. One of our key goals is to help combat the rising number of cyber incidents occurring around the globe,” said Una Pulizzi, Kyndryl Foundation President and Kyndryl Global Head of Corporate Affairs. “The Kyndryl Foundation can make a positive impact in training cybersecurity professionals and in growing an inclusive cybersecurity workforce.”
The Foundation’s focus on cybersecurity education is inspired by Kyndryl’s upskilling programs, including its work with the Common Services Centers, under the Ministry of Electronics & IT in India, when it launched Cyber Rakshak in January, a program that has trained 10,000 women in rural areas.
Here, Pulizzi talks about the Foundation’s focus and how it advances the company’s purpose.
Why did Kyndryl launch a foundation?
As a new company, we had the unique opportunity to build an organization and culture that was centered around advancing the vital systems that power human progress. These systems, including our people and technology, enable us to grow the company, create value for our stakeholders and drive social impact.
The Kyndryl Foundation is an extension of our commitment to improve the world around us, using our role in society to enable more organizations and individuals to gain the resources and skills they need for economic advancement.
What will the grants focus on in the Foundation’s first year?
Grants will be available to U.S. 501(c)3 and equivalent organizations globally. Grants will be awarded to organizations that advance cybersecurity education to underserved communities, as well as to NGOs that serve underserved communities with vital resources and services.
We hope that our Foundation grants will place more communities on a path for success — helping them build a diverse pipeline of talent with the resources they need to protect their people and the world around them.
Why is the Kyndryl Foundation focused on cybersecurity?
The damage from cyberattacks is predicted to reach about $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Organizations that are unable to prepare for this growing challenge are especially vulnerable — leaving them susceptible to their citizens’ personal information being stolen or shutting down the vital systems that power businesses and the greater economy. In fact, a recent survey by the Charity Commission found that one in eight charities experienced a cybercrime last year, making this population especially vulnerable to the growing risk landscape.
The cybersecurity industry is not only a focus area for how to protect against disruption, but it is also considered a growing technical space lacking a skilled workforce. According to a World Economic Forum study, there is a 3.4 million shortage of cybersecurity experts to support today’s global economy.
There is an urgent need to build a skilled workforce, and we know the Kyndryl Foundation can make a positive impact in this area.
Where can the Foundation have an impact in the future?
We look forward to working with grantees to make an impact on their programming this year, and we will continue to evaluate our ability to expand the vision of the Foundation long term. At Kyndryl, we’re committed to driving meaningful and systemic impact at scale. With the launch of the Kyndryl Foundation, our goal is to work with all sections of society, selecting projects each year that can lead to social impact.