You’re likely familiar with Cisco’s many giving back initiatives and the variety of ways Cisco employees give back throughout the year. But what happens when, while giving back, you realize you can do so much more? Often, we hear of weeklong volunteer trips or huge goals being met. It’s important to note, however, that EVERYONE can make an impact because everyone can give – maybe that is through time, perhaps it’s through donations. But “little” efforts have big rewards too!

Hailey and her team volunteering at Second Street Studio in San Jose, California.

This is a story of how our team, Supply Chain IT, took one giving back event and turned it into two! 

Just before the holidays, we had the pleasure of volunteering at Second Street Studio. This is a development in the San Jose community devoted entirely to permanent, supportive housing for previously homeless individuals. Luckily, these housing units also allow dogs, enabling residence to live with their four-legged companions. At this volunteering event, we were able to give back and help firsttime residents move into their new homes 

Second Street teamed up with partners to get the new residents covered with all their basic needs, however, we realized that there was still a lack of necessities to help them transition. For example, in most cases, their four-legged family members were without proper leashes and collars. 

While handing out supplies, we noticed a young man walking his dog with a “leash” that was made from ribbon – the kind you would wrap a Christmas present with. We, as dog lovers, found this heartbreaking as we realized that a simple leash for our dog is even something we take for granted. These animals deserved supplies as much as we do! 

The flyer Hailey and her team used to collect donations from people at Cisco offices.

Our team couldn’t stop thinking about this moment and wanted to take action to help these pets and their owners. What could we do? How could we help? Cisco employees to the rescue! 

We asked Building 17 in San Jose to come together and within a week, we had numerous employees who donated money and supplies. We raised enough money to provide residents with plentiful amounts of dog food, bowls, leashes, collars, toys, shampoo, treats, potty bags/pads, beds and brushes.  

A few weeks after our initial visit, two of our teammates took all the pet supplies to Second Street and had the tenants come down and pick up what they needed. 

The residents were in shock with how many options they had to choose from and couldn’t stop thanking us for thinking of their pets. For a new employee, I never thought I would be making a big impact on Cisco and our community, let alone so soon! It was a rewarding experience knowing both animals and residents will thrive due to our fundraising efforts

Two tables filled with pet supplies overflowing to the floor and nearby chairs at Second Street Studios in San Jose, California.

It’s amazing what can happen when a company supports your desire to give back, and when you’re surrounded by employees where the culture is so ingrained – we rally when we hear others are in need. Yes, even pets. 

I hope this shows employees throughout Cisco that giving, even in “small” ways, can have a huge impact on our community. I also hope this inspires those looking for their next career move to join us in changing the world. 

Want to join a company that cares? We’re hiring. Apply now. 


Hailey Thompson

Business Analyst in Supply Chain IT