Charu Adesnik


Corporate Affairs

Charu Adesnik leads the economic empowerment investment portfolio for Cisco Public Benefit Investment and the Cisco Foundation, bringing more than 15 years of experience in socio-economic development experience to Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. Cisco’s approach is to invest in nonprofit organizations that develop technology-based solutions to support underserved populations, with the potential for replication, scale, and sustainability.

Charu began her career in the East Asia and Pacific Region of the World Bank, where she provided policy advice to national governments and led technical assistance programs in areas of economic and financial sector development. Prior to joining Cisco, she was part of the management team of the financial sector development practice in the Emerging Markets Group of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. There, she provided technical assistance on client engagements, managed diverse project teams, and oversaw relationships with key corporate and public sector clients in more than 20 developing countries around the world.


Talented Latinx youth launch their tech careers through Digital NEST

We have a guest blog from Jacob Martinez, Founder and CEO of Digital NEST, which provides technology training to Latinx youth in agricultural communities.

Impact-First Microloans with Kiva support small businesses during economic downturn

In the current economic environment, many small business owners are struggling and yet may not be able to access government support programs. Kiva has launched expanded services to provide zero interest loans to small businesses in need.

How Cisco’s nonprofit partners are pivoting and innovating to address unexpected needs

The most vulnerable populations are the ones disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of global crises. Our nonprofit partners in economic empowerment are able to quickly adapt to the way they serve others.

Dispatch from the field: how a mobile app in East Africa empowers women while saving lives

Community health worker Roseline Moenga explains how she uses technology to diagnose malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea in rural Kenya.

Non-profit spotlight: The high-touch, high-tech approach to digital financial services in India

Opportunity International designed and implemented a suite of digital financial products and services to bank the unbanked.  Our three-year partnership resulted in 20 million people reached via digital financial services and supported 3 million jobs, enabling individuals to support their families and contribute to the growth and vibrancy of their communities. 

Empowering New Orleans’ Youth with Digital Skills

I am happy to share the expansion of one such global problem solver — Anudip Foundation — who is changing the lives of youth, families, and communities across India, and now the United States.

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 […]

Internet-Powered Jobs Transform Impoverished Youth into Lifelong Workers

This blog was originally published on the Huffington Post I recently spent two weeks in Uganda and Kenya, meeting with nonprofit organizations that are applying technology-based solutions to help underserved populations access the knowledge, skills, and financial products and services they need to become economically self-sufficient. I lead the economic empowerment portfolio for Cisco and […]

How Mobile Phones Are Driving Business and Social Impact

If you look around and think everyone has a mobile phone, you’re right. There are almost as many mobile subscriptions (6.8 billion) as there are people in the world (7.1 billion), according to the International Telecommunication Union. Even in developing countries, the mobile penetration rate (the number of mobile phone numbers within a specific population) […]