Christina O’Neill is a manager with Cisco Community Relations based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, who oversaw Cisco’s 2013 record-breaking Global Hunger Relief Campaign.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
In its 11th year, Cisco’s 2013 Global Hunger Relief Campaign proved more than ever that our desire to do the right thing goes beyond the confines of our traditional work responsibilities. Cisco’s annual campaign ran from November 4th through December 31st, and our results were record breaking!
Cisco employees directly donated $2.3 million in the fight against hunger around the world. All employee contributions were matched twice – once by the Cisco Foundation and once by Chairman Emeritus John Morgridge’s TOSA Foundation – tripling the impact of every gift and bringing total donations to $5.8 million, distributed through 162 hunger relief organizations around the world. The impact of the dollars raised translates to 23 million meals served! As part of the campaign, we were able to partner with Cisco’s disaster relief efforts after tragedy struck the Philippines at the beginning of November, sending food relief via our campaign to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
I had the privilege of driving this campaign from a global program perspective, leading the charge along with Cisco’s first-class Community Relations team, Corporate Communications, and Cisco Citizen Civic Councils around the world. Seeing the enthusiasm and generosity of our employees and our leaders increased my already strong sense of pride in our company and the positive impact we have in our communities.
Cisco leads first with our people in communities, and the Global Hunger Relief Campaign was no different. In 2013, Cisco employee volunteerism during the campaign reached an all-time record high with more than 44,000 hours served. Employees were engaged around the world in fun and creative volunteer events, and our nonprofit community partners were eager to share their enthusiasm regarding their partnership with Cisco.
In San Jose, California, Cisco senior leaders, including Chairman and CEO John Chambers, CIO Rebecca Jacoby, and COO Gary Moore, led a group of executives and committed volunteers in the packaging of more than 22,000 pounds of food at the Second Harvest Food Bank. Randy Pond, Operations Senior Vice President, led another food packaging event with Stop Hunger Now, where over 200 employee volunteers packaged more than 46,000 meals in under two hours.
Employees in Richardson, Texas, participated in a “Tailgating for Hunger” event, which raised more than $2500 for the North Texas Food Bank. Wearing t-shirts of their favorite team, employees participated in sports competitions and bike races. Food Bank Director Jasmin Holmstrup commented on the overall Global Hunger Relief Campaign, “We are extremely grateful to Cisco for their continuing commitment to end hunger in North Texas, providing more than 258,000 meals in our community.” Meanwhile, Cisco employees in Houston, Texas, spent 100 volunteer hours packing lunches with Kids’ Meals, a hunger organization that serves home-delivered lunches to local children in need.
In Bangalore, India, the Global Hunger Relief Campaign finale event culminated with 215 employees coming together to pack and deliver 1000 food packages for underprivileged children in a government-run school. Cisco’s in-house rock band, the Lone Rangers, also performed. All donations went to Cisco India’s efforts to feed children through the partnership with the Akshya Patra organization.
To finish off the campaign in Australia and New Zealand, employees presented a check for $21,000 to the New South Wales Food Bank, while also volunteering 200 hours. Tony Gatt, business manager for the food bank, said, “It comes as a surprise to most Australians to know there are 2 million of their fellow Aussies who are living below the poverty line, many through no fault of their own. To give you a sense of the impact Cisco’s support has achieved: $21k will allow us to source at least $140k worth of food, which will supply 280,000 meals, half of these to kids under 12.”
Finally, employees in China donated more than $20,000 to hunger relief through partnership with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, enabling food assistance to students in the country’s rural west. According to Li Yuan, Head of the Partnership Development Office, the program “helps to provide warm and nutritious meals to those underprivileged students in poor conditions, removing any concerns of kitchen hygiene, electricity, and safety.”
For 11 years, our Global Hunger Relief Campaign has continued the fight against hunger, which is the world’s #1 solvable health epidemic. The author, Edward Everett Hale, said: “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something…” After seeing all of the leadership, energy, and support for this campaign from our employees, I see even more clearly now how one person, and one company, can impact the future of millions of people around the world.
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