Every day, there are millions in need in our communities and around the world– a mother who is not able to feed her children before putting them to bed; a child who is not able to attend school because of open wounds on his or her body; a family without housing because of war and conflict in their country – and many other similar stories we’ve heard where dependable access to basic human necessities is a struggle.

And every day, we have the opportunity to bridge this gap by connecting to these communities and using those connections to change our world for the better.

Here at Cisco, we take that opportunity to heart and find ways to multiply the impact we can make, because these are the moments that matter. We are committed to doing what we can, not only as a company, but on an individual basis by using our time, talent, and treasure to make the world, and its local communities, a better place.

Be the Bridge InfoGraphic-legal

During the first year of our Be the Bridge campaign, we opened up our giving pool to more than 400 different organizations around the globe between November and December. We empowered employees to “Be the Bridge” for those in need by supporting social issues that are important to them or their communities. While hunger relief remained a top priority, other important organizations — which provide shelter, housing, nutritious food and clean water — became eligible for employee giving as well.

The results:  more than 8,500 employees participated, generating $4.5 million dollars in direct employee donations and matching funds from the Cisco foundation for 406 community partners.  It was evident that our employees understood their communities best. For us, we found our employees saw this giving campaign as an extremely positive part of our culture.  Most of them wanted to help, and were only looking for an opportunity to do so.

The monies raised during Be the Bridge campaign will have an incredible impact in our communities for weeks to come.

  • In San Jose, our donations will help Second Harvest Food Bank provide three meals a day for hundreds of thousands of people in need in the San Mateo and Santa Clara communities.
  • In India, our donations will help Akshaya Patra provide mid-day meals to over 16,000 children in government schools.
  • Globally, our donations will help Doctors Without Borders provide emergency medical supplies to aid over 600,000 disaster victims for an entire month.

And that’s only just a few examples of how our donations will impact our communities worldwide.

One employees – based in Shanghai – donated to provide fuel to heat a rural school in the winter.  Others supported the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, to ensure that “no one goes hungry” during the Holiday Season.  Another supported Water for People to bring “safe and sanitary water to over 4 million people in nine countries.” Still others provided “un kilo de ayuda” to those who need help throughout Mexico.

We often say “amazing things happen when we connect the unconnected,” around Cisco, and this is a true testament of that statement. For the past 15 years, Cisco’s helped raise more than $40 million and deliver nearly 160 million meals as part of its global hunger relief campaigns. We’ve changed millions of lives through our efforts to fight hunger, and now we’ve expanded our impact beyond the global hunger crisis. These are the moments that matter to our employees.

For those of us who have been blessed with so much, we can and should continue to do more to help those most in need by being the bridge to our local communities.

Learn more about our year-round Corporate Social Responsibility efforts by visiting csr.cisco.com today


Rebecca Jacoby

No Longer with Cisco