In 2013, Roland Holloway learned he was cancer-free. For 9 years, Roland, a Cisco employee, had battled neck cancer, but a surprising recovery inspired him to give back to his community. With the help of Cisco’s Employee Purchase Donation Program (EPDP), Roland is empowering a local nonprofit with new technologies and helping others in need.
Roland, who will celebrate his 20th anniversary at Cisco later this year, is taking advantage of his newfound health to create change in his own neighborhood. “I’ve had a lot of good fortune come my way,” he said. “I enjoy giving back; I can’t change world politics, but I can definitely help my local community.”
He started by visiting his childhood friend, Johnny Taylor, who founded a veterans’ outreach nonprofit called Promised Land Foundation. Doctors diagnosed Taylor with polio as a child, forcing him to use an electric scooter for transportation and making his goal of serving other veterans difficult. Roland saw his friend struggling, and helped Taylor purchase a wheelchair-accessible van in 2013. “I wanted to help him fulfill his aspirations to help veterans,” Roland said. “I saw him struggling to get around, and he’s using the van to make veterans’ lives easier.”
However, Roland didn’t stop giving back. In 2014, he learned about Cisco’s EPDP through a colleague who had used the program to donate equipment to his daughter’s school. Roland realized that as a Cisco employee, he could purchase equipment at a 75% discount for donation to qualified nonprofits and schools in the United States.
Shortly after, he met Julie Lyles Carr at his church in Austin, Texas, and found the perfect outlet to take advantage of the EPDP. Carr had founded the nonprofit Legacy of Hope Austin in 2010, which provides creative opportunities to children with special needs. One of its programs, 2dance2dream, helps children express themselves creatively through movement and music.
Roland knew that Cisco equipment would help Carr broadcast and share her nonprofit’s message with the community. Through the EPDP, Roland obtained and helped install Cisco’s Catalyst 3850 Series Switch, which Carr believes is making a major difference to the children she serves.
“Anything that helps get the message out through technology is so important,” Carr said. Access to technology, like the 3850 switch, helps Legacy of Hope Austin because it “allows volunteer IT and media staff to have what they need to best tell our story.”
Since 2010, an estimated 400 Cisco employees have donated over $5.4 million in equipment to more than 100 schools, community nonprofits, and universities.
After seeing the success of the new switch, Roland strived to do more for Legacy of Hope Austin. This year, he is working with Carr to install high-density wireless cables purchased through the EPDP. The cabling will help Carr and Legacy of Hope Austin connect with children in the Austin community and touch more lives than ever before.
“[The donation is a] strong validation that technology and the arts are intertwined and those in the tech field understand the beauty of how they work together,” she said.
If you would like to learn more or apply to Cisco’s Employee Purchase Donation Program, visit http://www.techsoup.org/cisco-epdp today.