“We believe economic progress without social development is not sustainable, while social development without economic progress is not feasible.” – Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum
Historically individuals and institutions have often been limited to the results of their individual efforts to make an impact. With the advent of the Internet and widespread broadband connection, however, it is now possible to efficiently join with others to act collectively -- pooling global resources and talents to solve problems too big to solve alone. This is the power of collective knowledge, creativity, and commitment in a connected age. This is what Cisco believes as we consider, plan, and execute our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.
One way in which Cisco works collaboratively to make a global impact is by participating in events like this week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Cisco is one of the strategic partners of the event and our Chairman and CEO, John Chambers, will be speaking as part of a panel addressing Leading through Adversity on Wednesday, January 23 from 9 to 10 a.m. (CET) (midnight to 1 a.m. PST/3 to 4 a.m. EST).
For more than a decade, Cisco and the Cisco Foundation have supported the American Red Cross (ARC) and its efforts to help people displaced by natural disasters around the world.
This support has taken many forms -- from matching employee giving campaigns to corporate donations to product donations, such as Cisco data and voice communications equipment and volunteers that enabled ARC’s Hurricane Katrina response in 2005. Many of our employees volunteer with ARC, and some have been trained to work at relief shelters through the organization’s Ready When the Time Comes program.
Three months ago, the Red Cross faced one of its largest and most geographically dispersed deployments ever when Hurricane Sandy marched through the Caribbean and up the East Coast, sweeping away homes, destroying entire neighborhoods, and uprooting thousands of families.
American Red Cross volunteers Jessica Elam and Gilbert Abney distribute hot meals in heavily devastated Staten Island, New York on November 6, 2012. Photo: Talia Frenkel/American Red Cross
Within hours of Sandy’s landfall in New Jersey, Cisco committed a corporate contribution of US$1 million to the American Red Cross to be used for direct aid to the affected areas.
In addition, the Cisco Foundation set up the Hurricane Sandy Relief Campaign and pledged to match up to $2 million in Cisco employee contributions to the campaign, matching $2 for each $1 contributed by employees.
As of January 2, the campaign has raised more than $464,000 for the ARC’s U.S. Disaster Relief and International Response Funds through employee contributions and Cisco Foundation matching -- along with an additional $145,000 for 14 other disaster and hunger relief agencies.
Our strategic and ongoing partnership with the American Red Cross is part of Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts to meet critical human needs -- such as access to food, potable water, shelter, and disaster relief, as well as long-term economic opportunities.
“The American Red Cross is at the forefront of the world’s most devastating disasters,” said Peter Tavernise, executive director of the Cisco Foundation. “Many of us are frustrated and want to help when we see the devastation on television. Our partnership with and support of the Red Cross gives our employees a way to contribute in a meaningful way to people who are affected by these catastrophes.”
Fatima Velasquez, a volunteer for the American Red Cross, provides snacks to Jennifer Rivera from a Red Cross mobile feeding unit in the Rockaways, New York, on January 2, 2013. Photo: American Red Cross/Virginia Hart
Three months after Hurricane Sandy, approximately 1,000 Red Cross workers are still on the ground. To date the Red Cross has distributed more than 6.7 million relief and clean-up items and provided more than 9.6 million meals and snacks. ARC is still serving thousands of meals each day in New York and working with partners to distribute thousands of additional food packages every day.
More than two months have passed since Superstorm Sandy devastated communities and lives in the eastern United States and the Caribbean.
But Jim Killoran, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester, still shows up at 6 a.m. every day to lead dozens of volunteers who have come to the Rockaways in Queens, New York, to help families clean, repair, and rebuild their homes.
Jim Killoran of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester surveys damage in Breezy Point section of the Rockaways.
Since ” ’tis the season” for giving in many parts of the world, and as end of the calendar year approaches, I’ve decided to finish my working year reflecting upon the biggest “Giving Back” initiative I was personally part of in September of this year (2012) -- my two stages of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, or RAB as we called it in Cisco UK & Ireland -- an event we aligned to Cisco’s overall involvement in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. Time has flown since I initially blogged about my nerves pre-ride. I reflected on our “Virtual RAB” -- designed to give everyone at Cisco an easier chance of participating -- also as part of our overall fundraising, and told you about the “Network on Wheels” or Cisco NOW Van that supported us with remote (very remote!) internet access as we cycled through all weathers from the bottom to the very top of the UK. The Cisco team raised around £20,000 (over $32,000 USD) -- while the event as a whole, with over 700 riders, raised over £1 Million in total -- all for paralympic athletes.
It was indeed an experience! While the second of my two days was a beautiful day for cycling -- as the video clip from Cisco UK & Ireland Senior VP Phil Smith (quite a cyclist btw!) shows -- the first day was a 12 hour test in truely horrendous stormy conditions! Let me tell you more about that day and show you some of the sights on the way.
Cisco employees are always ready for some friendly competition for a good cause. During our annual Global Hunger Relief Campaign, our desire to give back brings out the competitive spirit in all of us.
The Cisco team in Richardson, Texas, held the official campus-wide kickoff for the Global Hunger Relief Campaign on November 15 with its annual Bowling for Hunger. The team with the highest score won a free bowling package, and the team that raised the most money received a huge trophy. This year, the Bowling for Hunger event raised nearly US$8,000 for the Campaign.
Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose, California launched the 2012 Campaign with an executive food sort at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. More than 45 executives and volunteers divided into three teams, led by Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, Executive Vice President Randy Pond, and Chairman Emeritus John Morgridge. The teams competed to see who could sort 30,000 pounds of food to be distributed to families in need the fastest.
Cisco Executive Vice President Randy Pond (right) and other Cisco employees volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank.
While internal competition is fun, Cisco employees really crank it into high gear when we’re up against other companies in giving back. The Cisco team in San Jose also participated in the 48-Hour Virtual Race to End Hunger from November 13 to 15.
The Virtual Race is an online challenge that rallies employees at Silicon Valley companies to support the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, which provides food to a quarter of a million of their neighbors in need each month. The Cisco team earned first place, raising almost $160,000 in 48 hours. Our prize – the Cisco logo will be featured on a Second Harvest Food Bank truck.
No matter how the money is raised, Cisco employees come through every year to fight hunger around the world with their time, energy, and creativity. Finding fun, competitive ways to raise the money just makes it that much more interesting.
Join Cisco to take action against hunger: Leave a comment on the Cisco How Do You Give Facebook tab about how you give back. For every comment made on the page through December 31, Cisco will donate $1 to the World Food Programme – enough to provide 4 meals.