Cisco’s purpose is to Power an Inclusive Future for All. We deliver on our purpose by bringing together all our strengths and resources, including our technology, expertise, and people to make a sustainable positive impact in the world and on our planet. There is no better example of how we at Cisco are delivering on our purpose than through our commitment to social justice.

In September 2020, Cisco released its Social Justice Beliefs and 12 Actions to serve as a blueprint for how we respond to inequity and injustice. Our 12 actions are backed by a five-year $300 million commitment to driving long-term, generational impact for the African American/Black community. While our initial commitments are focused on the AA/B community, the framework guides how we will address inequity and injustice across the full spectrum of diversity in communities around the world.

More than words

In May 2021, we established an Inclusive Future Action Office (IFAO) to oversee our commitment to social justice and the action teams. The office provides strategic oversight, operational rigor, and measures key performance indicators. It is an agile team that convenes experts and facilitates collaboration across our entire ecosystem of employees, partners, customers, and suppliers.

Today, the IFAO office is the size of many of Cisco’s business units, convening hundreds of people across every business function and region to lend their unique expertise and perspectives to this important work. We also have the full support of our Executive Leadership Team with each member being accountable for at least one action.

We plan to scale and replicate the office using what we’ve learned in locations around the world.

Making an impact

Our Social Justice Actions are company-wide, global priorities. Each action contains multiple aspirations and commitments spread over five consecutive years. Although we are still early in our journey, we are making significant progress. A few of our cumulative impacts to date include:

  • Provided critical technology upgrades to more than 30 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in 11 states, awarded $12.5 million in endowments and $7.5 million in technology upgrades for STEM students.
  • Achieved a 43% increase in AA/B employees in entry level through manager roles, a 91% increase in AA/B directors, and a 160% increase in AA/B vice presidents and above.
  • Provided millions in funding to venture funds and startups led by founders and CEOs who are AA/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, and women.
  • Expanded our pay fairness program to include bonus and stock for all employees.
  • Distributed millions of dollars donated by Cisco and employees to nonprofits and social-justice initiatives.
  • Received workforce diversity reports from 100% of our targeted FY20 preferred suppliers with U.S. workers in FY21.
  • 100% of Cisco vice presidents have taken The Multiplier Effect pledge.

You can stay up to date on our progress by reading Cisco’s Purpose Report which is published annually in December and by visiting our Social Justice website. In addition, you can get an inside look at some of the work taking place in the Action Teams through a series of recent blogs featuring updates from Action 8: Commit to HBCUs, Action 2: Increase Representation, Action 11: Invest in Innovation, Action 10: Diversify our Partner Ecosystem, and Action 1: Influence our Ecosystem.

Inspiring Action

With our purpose at the heart of everything we do, you can count on Cisco to be bold, brave, and deliberate about our role and the actions we will continue to take in support of social justice. Social justice is a fundamental stand for all.  For fairness, equity, respect, and access to opportunities within our organizations, across our communities, and around the world. We will continue to show up, tackle the biggest challenges, and share our progress along the way.

Read the Cisco Purpose Report

Visit our Social Justice website



Shari Slate

Chief Inclusion & Collaboration Officer

SVP of Inclusive Future & Strategy