Even before I started with Cisco, I was an active volunteer and had a focus on increasing educational access in rural China. After I joined Cisco, I quickly connected with the Civic Council to continue my passion for giving back. Civic Councils are teams of employees who plan volunteer events, develop partnerships, manage product donation programs, and make local cash donations. As our Civic Council leader, my main function is to create volunteer events and recruit employees to participate, and it has been very rewarding!
The China Research and Development Center (CRDC) Civic Council exists to identify volunteer opportunities and connect the demand to the supply of Cisco capital (employees and resources). You might be surprised as to how this helps me perform and excel in my Cisco role as an Engineering Manager. At the finish line of each volunteer program we manage and execute, I am rewarded to see how everyone benefits – not just those we served – but also the Cisco employees who volunteered. I use that momentum to fuel our next volunteer program.
I am where I am today because of the mentorship and partnership of many of my Cisco colleagues and our China executive sponsors. The growth of our Civic Council and the efforts in our community would not have been possible without the support of Mr. Rao Talasila, T.C. His, Hanh Tu, Nan Chang, Angela Li, and the Community Relations team.
Last year was our first year participating in the Global Hunger Relief Campaign, where we introduced the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) as our priority partner. For the last 8 years, CFPA has a “Love Lunch” Program, which provides lunch meals to students in rural areas. As certain regions of China continue to develop, CFPA helps ensure students in rural areas have access to food. I was amazed by China’s success in the 2013 Global Hunger Relief Campaign – raising $20,761 for the fight against hunger. With employee donations and the donation match, CFPA was able to feed 600 students for an entire year! The China CPE Team, and Cherry Wu’s leadership, was essential for the 2013 Campaign success.
This year, our campaign has expanded to all of China. During the 48-Hour Race to End Hunger, we continued to race towards our 2014 campaign goal of US$20,000. We are excited to share that we have raised US$3900 to date for the 2014 campaign in employee donations. The campaign ends on December 12 so we will continue to drive our giving efforts.
This past April, we engaged 30 CRDC employees to participate in the Shanghai United Foundation Walk (1448 KM) to raise funds for children’s nutrition and care programs. We generated more than $10,000 (donations plus matching) for Shanghai United Foundation, which is another benefiting organization for the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign.
So, what’s next for us? Well, under the leadership of Sean Song Jiang, the North China Civic Council initiated a program to install a wireless network in a rural China school, partnering with Green & Shine Foundation. By combining employee donations and the Cisco Foundation match, the first batch of equipment is ready and we are sending IT volunteers to provide remote onsite support. This idea came out of a collaboration meeting with Cisco’s Pankaj Patel and Rob Lloyd. Together, we discussed ways Cisco employees could utilize Cisco technology in volunteer programs. Wonderful things happen when you bring talent to the table and strategize how to make an impact on our community.
I enjoy serving on the Civic Council and am proud of what we do for our community, our country, and the world. I continue to hear wonderful feedback about our volunteer activities and programs. To me, the Civic Council can be summed up as this: Good people working together to make the world a better place.