Charu Adesnik

Executive Director, Cisco Foundation; Director, Social Innovation Investments

Charu Adesnik is the Executive Director of the Cisco Foundation, and Director of Social Innovation Investments at Cisco. In this capacity, she oversees the mission, vision, strategy, programs, and governance of the Foundation. Charu also leads Cisco's strategic investments of cash, donations of Cisco technology, and employee expertise to support non-profit organizations targeting economically under-served and vulnerable communities in areas of Crisis Response, Education, Economic Empowerment, and Climate Regeneration and Sustainability. Beyond this, Charu oversees execution of Cisco’s goal to positively impact 1 billion people by 2025, aligned with Cisco’s vision of an inclusive future for all. Charu is a seasoned leader with more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of charitable foundations, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies and related interventions, employee giving and volunteering, impact evaluation, operational management, team development, and leading change. Charu began her career at the World Bank, where she supported the development of the Bank’s country assistance strategies in East Asia and Pacific. She also provided policy advice to national governments and led technical assistance initiatives in areas of poverty alleviation and economic development. Prior to joining Cisco, Charu was part of the management team of the Financial Sector Development practice of Deloitte Consulting (Emerging Markets Group), where she developed sector level strategies and interventions, led client engagements, provided technical assistance, managed diverse project teams, and oversaw relationships with key corporate and public sector clients in more than 25 countries, in every region of the world. She has designed, executed and evaluated the impact of global initiatives across multiple disciplines, including financial services, economic empowerment, critical human needs, disaster response, education, institutional capacity building, gender initiatives, and transparency and governance – with an emphasis on vulnerable and underserved population groups. Charu is a member of the advisory Council at Kiva and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). She has a Bachelor of Arts in Economic and Political Science from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as an MBA. She lives in the Bay Area of California with her husband and son.


Earth Day: How we’re helping our social and environmental systems heal and thrive

4 min read

In honor of Earth Day, learn how Cisco and the Cisco Foundation are addressing closely intertwined environmental and social issues.

Empowering women and transforming economies globally through inclusive partnerships

8 min read

Learn more about four of Cisco’s partners - Living Goods, One Acre Fund, Solar Sister, and Trickle Up - who helped us exceed our One Billion Lives Impacted goal by providing people, especially women, with equitable access to the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to support themselves and their families toward long-term independence, resilience, and economic security.

January 22, 2024


Purpose. Partnership. Impact.

5 min read

To achieve our goal to positively impact one billion lives, Cisco forged over 100 global non-profit partnerships aligned with the purpose-driven principles that guide our business, technology, and innovation. We focused on the areas we could have the deepest impact: crisis response, learning and digital skills, and economic empowerment.