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DoGooder Video Award Winners Inspire Change

March 13, 2014 at 10:26 am PST

Congratulations to the winners of the DoGooder Video Awards, who were announced today at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C.!

The DoGooder Awards recognize the creative and effective use of video to promote social good. Cisco sponsored the awards for the third year in a row, providing a cash prize to the winner in the “Best Nonprofit Video” category. Watch all four winning videos below.

Best Nonprofit Video
“Right By You” from Partners for Mental Health. This 30-second video shows why we need to do more to end tragedies like youth suicide.

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Cisco Employee Volunteers Help Families Become Homeowners

March 11, 2014 at 11:30 am PST

Katherine_TochThis post was written by guest blogger Katherine Toch, Senior Marketing Manager, Cisco Corporate Affairs

A home, at first thought…seems like a pretty simple concept.  Four walls, some windows, a couple doors and you have a house. But it is more than that, it is a place to put down your roots and become part of a larger community.  It’s a safe and secure place to call your own. It’s a place to make memories and recall them through lively dinner conversations throughout the years. It’s a feeling of knowing you can keep the ones you love safe. Something so many of us take for granted. Whether here in the U.S or around the world, more people than not do not have a place to call home.

The statistics on housing are staggering: Globally 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing conditions. In addition, 1 in 4 people live in conditions that harm their health, safety, prosperity and opportunities. The current U.S. homeless population is estimated to be between 1.6 to 3 million people, and one-third of the homeless are children.

In my own backyard, the San Francisco Bay Area, fewer than 40 percent of families can afford to purchase a home. For hard-working families whose earnings place them in the low to very-low income classification, finding a decent, affordable place to live in the San Francisco Bay Area is an extremely difficult, if not impossible task. The current need for additional housing is unmet, and every day the number of families living in substandard housing continues to rise. As more families seek opportunities in the Bay Area and the population grows, the lack of affordable housing is becoming more pronounced and distressing. Families need and deserve a home.

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Cisco Honored for Supporting Disaster Relief in the Bay Area

Cisco is proud to announce it has received the 2014 Humanitarian Partnership Award from the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. The award recognizes the support Cisco has given to the American Red Cross’ mission, and salutes the significant impact Cisco has made in Silicon Valley.

Cisco’s relationship with the Silicon Valley Chapter, and the American Red Cross in general, is deep, enduring, and reciprocal. We have been strategic disaster response partners for more than a decade, and we share a common focus. While the American Red Cross is frequently first on scene to provide food, shelter, water, and relief services during disasters, Cisco’s rapid response IT solutions – and its employees — are not far behind, as supporting critical human needs is a key component in Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) pledge.

Over the years, Cisco has supported the American Red Cross by making cash and product donations, lending technical expertise, and encouraging extensive employee volunteerism, not only in Silicon Valley, but throughout the United States and the world.

Cisco "Ready When the Time Comes" volunteers are a critical element in their communities' disaster readiness.

Cisco “Ready When the Time Comes” volunteers are a critical element in their communities’ disaster readiness.

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Recognizing Programs that Empower Girls and Women

As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, I am reflecting on so many factors that led to where I am today. My mother grew up in India when the path for most women was not one of higher education and a professional life. Yet, with the support of her family, she pursued an advanced degree and became an internationally acclaimed scientist. At a time when arranged marriages were the standard, she met my father and they wed in a non-traditional “love marriage.” With her quiet strength, she was a pioneer, and her experience and outlook helped shape who I am and the path I have taken.

I, too, had the support of my family to pursue dreams of a college degree and professional career, and to be a wife and mother. But many girls and women are not afforded these opportunities, a lack of access which leads to millions trapped in a cycle of poverty, abuse, and poor health—an inherent inequality—where 66 million girls around the world are not in school, 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence each year, and the number 1 cause of death for girls ages 15 to19 is childbirth.

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One-Third Of Women in STEM Said They Felt Isolated at Work. Here’s How We’re Helping.

This blog was originally posted on the Huffington Post.

When people ask why we should encourage women and girls to pursue technology education, I tell them about Soso Luningo.

Soso grew up in one of South Africa’s poorest provinces, a rural village where lack of economic opportunity is the norm. A fraction of the country’s 9000 high schools offer information and communications technology (ICT) as a subject, even though it provides strong career prospects. Unemployment in South Africa is 25 percent, and without the financial resources to attend college, young people like Soso end up trapped in poverty.

But when I met Soso in 2012, she was anything but a statistic. She had a thriving career, had built her parents their dream home, and was a role model to other young women with similar backgrounds. And it was all because she was educated in ICT.

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