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‘Tis the Season for Giving Back …. With the University of Dundee in Scotland

In many cultures across the world, this is a time for giving.  In a departure from my previous blogs discussing data center services, cloud adoption and IT architecture transformation, I’ve decided to end the year by discussing how we in Cisco give back our time and money to help others, something that Cisco most definitely encourages. Here I’ll discuss how a few colleagues and I have helped out in one of the computing degree courses at the University of Dundee in Scotland.

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Your Next Group Activity

The next time the subject of a group outing or offsite comes up in your company or organization, I recommend getting your team together for a community volunteer activity. Last week our team helped out at Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose, CA.  Not only did we have a great time working together on a common project, but the food bank really appreciated all of the help we provided in sorted donated food.

Here are some pictures:


Happy Holidays, Making a Difference with Video in Schools

Recently, my wife and I made a small contribution to an elementary school in Bosier City, Louisiana.  We found the class through a site called, which lets teachers request donations for specific projects or general needs in their classrooms.

One particular request seemed meant to be: The teacher wanted two Flip cameras to teach podcasting, editing and photo journalism to her class. Of course, this punched my buttons since I work for Cisco and have a Flip camera of my own, which I love; and my wife works in TV news — and was actually born in Bosier City, Louisiana!

So, we made a small personal donation of a few hundred dollars that enabled the school to purchase the cameras and some related tools, and thought little more of it. Then, we got a note back from the teacher with profuse thanks: The students had put the cameras to work immediately, and are creating podcasts regularly as part of their classroom work.  And then the other day in the mail came dozens of hand-written Thank You notes from the students in the class. (You can see these in the attached video.) Read More »

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Cisco Launches 2010 Global Hunger Relief Campaign

Last December, Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers commented that he “can think of no better way to mark Cisco’s 25th year than focusing even more of our employees’ talents and energy on community service.” To commemorate this milestone, all Cisco employees were challenged to each dedicate four hours to community service, or 200,000 total employee volunteer hours.  Nearly a year later, Cisco employees surpassed our goal by volunteering 222,000 hours with nonprofit organizations worldwide. It’s this spirit of stepping up and volunteering that often provides an even greater resource than the checks we write.

I recently learned that one in four residents in the San Francisco Bay Area is at risk for hunger, compared to one in six nationally.  And more than 1 billion people worldwide are undernourished.  Obviously, there is need and we all need to do more.

As one of the largest employers in Silicon Valley, we were proud to kick off Cisco’s Global Hunger Relief Campaign at the Second Harvest Food Bank warehouse in San Jose with an annual executive food sort event.  Second Harvest recently launched the largest food and fund drive in the nation.  Cisco’s goal is to raise a minimum of US$1 million in employee donations, which with matching funds, will provide over 8 million meals around the world.

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