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When Giving Gets Going: Cisco’s 48-Hour Race with Second Harvest

This week, Cisco was named the winner of Second Harvest Food Bank’s  48-Hour Virtual Race to End Hunger.  Raising money – just over $216,000 for this year’s race – to support our neighbors in need and at risk of food insecurity is now a signature part of our participation in the Cisco Global Hunger Relief Campaign – a company fundraising drive that benefits over 160 nonprofits worldwide.

After 8 years participating in the local 48-Hour Race, the Silicon Valley spirit of competition has spread to many other Cisco locations that compete in their own ways during the 48-Hour Race, including India and China.

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Cisco Employees Race to End Hunger in India

“There is no better expenditure of money and it’s really important for these kids to stay in school and learn. I love this program; this is one of the finest commitments ever made in the 10 years history of Clinton Global Initiative.”

How beautiful and true these words are from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, about the mid-day meal program of Akshya Patra, which is Cisco India’s primary benefiting organization for our Global Hunger Relief Campaign. Through this program, over 1.4 million children from 10,661 schools across 10 states in India receive a good meal each day that they are in school. This is the world’s largest mid-day meal program and it makes an incredible impact.

According to the World Food Programme, one-third of the world’s hungry live in India. “Six days I would eat, then the next six days I wouldn’t eat at all,” said 9-year-old Roshan. The tiny girl grew up on a diet of 600 calories per day, not even half as much as a child her age should receive. And across India, millions of children like Roshan suffer from severe hunger.

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Cisco Employees Race to End Hunger in China

Even before I started with Cisco, I was an active volunteer and had a focus on increasing educational access in rural China. After I joined Cisco, I quickly connected with the Civic Council to continue my passion for giving back. Civic Councils are teams of employees who plan volunteer events, develop partnerships, manage product donation programs, and make local cash donations. As our Civic Council leader, my main function is to create volunteer events and recruit employees to participate, and it has been very rewarding!

The China Research and Development Center (CRDC) Civic Council exists to identify volunteer opportunities and connect the demand to the supply of Cisco capital (employees and resources). You might be surprised as to how this helps me perform and excel in my Cisco role as an Engineering Manager. At the finish line of each volunteer program we manage and execute, I am rewarded to see how everyone benefits – not just those we served – but also the Cisco employees who volunteered. I use that momentum to fuel our next volunteer program.

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The China team volunteering for Shanghai United Foundation

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Cisco Employee Volunteers Help a Texas Family Rebuild

Within 24 hours of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas almost 2 years ago, Cisco’s Community Relations team had already committed to help residents impacted by the devastation and contacted me in Cisco’s Richardson office.

Within another month, we decided to partner with Waco Habitat for Humanity to rebuild a family home, and to send Richardson employees to volunteer. After a lengthy application and vetting process, the new homeowner was selected and groundbreaking for the new home was scheduled for Friday, November 7.

Soon-to-be homeowner Gloria Alamos and her daughter with Beth Kolman and the team of Cisco employee volunteers with Waco Habitat for Humanity.

Soon-to-be homeowner Gloria Alamos and her daughter with Beth Kolman and the team of Cisco employee volunteers with Waco Habitat for Humanity

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Cisco is a Top Silicon Valley Corporate Philanthropist

Last week, Cisco was once again named a top corporate philanthropist by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Cisco ranked #2 with US$19.2 million in contributions to Silicon Valley nonprofits and community organizations — just $240,000 behind the #1 corporate donor, the Sobrato Organization. By lending our support in our backyard, we hope to demonstrate our belief that what is good for the community is good for business.

Cisco employees, led by Senior Vide President Randy Pond (4th from right) accept the top Silicon Valley Philanthropist Award from the Silicon Valley Business Journal

Cisco employees, led by Senior Vice President Randy Pond (4th from right) accept the Top Silicon Valley Philanthropist Award from the Silicon Valley Business Journal on November 6, 2014.

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