Together, we have the collective power to activate progress and create transformative change. As we observe Juneteenth and honor the African American/Black community, it is a reminder to continue to amplify our voice to realize the full potential of social justice action. I am proud to be part of our company’s bold pledge to positively impact the world around us – and provide an update on Cisco’s commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
“Through the power of connection and a passionate ecosystem, we will continue
to empower HBCUs to the forefront of innovation, opportunity, and leadership.”
As an executive sponsor for Cisco’s Social Justice Actions, I help steward our company’s five-year US$150 million commitment to HBCUs. Our mission is to create a generational impact through technology modernization and STEM education access. We focus on four areas of impact and we’ve seen early success across each. In total, Cisco has positively impacted 50% of addressable 4-year HBCU institutions in the U.S., and below are some of the critical milestones.
Supporting HBCU STEM students
- US$25 million donated to the “Access to Education” endowment
- 35 HBCUs participating
- 266 students supported
Building technology excellence
- US$61 million invested in 28 new technology installations
- 46 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) assessments completed
Promoting success before and beyond graduation
- 50 Cisco Networking Academies launched
- 17 HBCUs actively teaching Networking Academy courses
Advancing information sharing and engagement
- Cisco’s HBCU Advisory Board established
- Education Pathway for HBCUs launched to Cisco employees
An important element of the fourth focus area is our ability to evangelize their stories and actively connect others behind our vision for HBCUs. A wonderful example of this is the just-debuted Cisco Stories film about Jolene Butts Freeman from the Office of Institutional Advancement at Clark Atlanta University (CAU), where Jolene shares her personal experience and perspectives on Cisco’s partnership with CAU.
Watching Jolene talk about CAU’s relationship with Cisco makes what we’re doing even more compelling – and for me, urgent. There is still much to do to achieve the social justice impact we’re after, and our work to equip HBCUs with long-term, sustainable strategies centered on student and university success is moving forward in full force. Through the power of connection and a passionate ecosystem, we will continue to empower HBCUs to the forefront of innovation, opportunity, and leadership.