Sunday, April 1, 2012

Grant Declination: Cisco Community Impact Grant (BDPA Boston)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) aggressively seeks out funding for the BDPA programs, scholarships and services all over the nation. We recently worked with Tim Wilson, our BETF liaison from BDPA Boston MetroWest chapter to get permission from the local Cisco Civic Council that would allow us to send a full grant proposal. Unfortunately, our request was denied.

The message we received had details about other opportunities to work with Cisco.

Dear Tim,

In response to your request for financial support, we would like to thank you for thinking of Cisco Systems and the Cisco Foundation. Although we applaud your efforts, your request falls outside our guidelines since we do not support foundations or scholarship programs. If you have volunteer opportunities for our Cisco employees in the Boxborough area, I would be happy to pass them on to the local Civic Council lead for that area.

We invite you to visit our website for information about the various types of support we provide to non-profit organizations, eligibility requirements, policies, and investment guidelines, as well as examples of organizations and partners we support. This information can be found at

Broadly, our aim at Cisco is to leverage the full breadth and depth of our resources to benefit under-served individuals and communities globally. To this end, our social investment strategy focuses on three areas where our products, services, and employees can make a lasting impact: Critical Human Needs and Disaster Relief, Education, and Economic Empowerment. Our approach encourages innovation to create technology-based solutions that are replicable, scalable, and sustainable. To achieve our objectives, we partner with organizations around the world that share our values and align with our focus areas.

Below are selected examples of the types of programs Cisco supports:

Critical Human Needs and Disaster Relief: The mission of Nethope is to be a catalyst for collaboration among international humanitarian organizations, specifically around leveraging technology based solutions to respond to disasters. Cisco has partnered with NetHope to support disaster response in numerous locales, including following the Japan earthquake and Tsunami, and Haiti earthquake.

Cisco supported Feeding America’s pilot and scaled their Athena program that supports 86% of US Food Banks that have little or no IT support become more efficient and effective in serving people who are food insecure.

Education: Since 2004, Cisco and MIND Research Institute been working together to help improve student learning outcomes in math, especially in under-served communities. MIND develops innovative and engaging, research-based K-12 educational programs that teach students how to think, reason, and create mathematically. Support from Cisco has helped transition to an online delivery platform and scale their programs to more schools in the United States and beyond. As of March 2010, MIND’s programs reach more than 150,000 students and 10,000 teachers in 800+ schools in 22 states. Since 2004, they have grown 136 percent, and their annual growth average is 30 percent.

Cisco’s Networking Academy is a cloud delivered, scalable, high-quality Information and Communications Technology (ICT) education program that helps students develop the practical skills needed to design, build, secure, and maintain computer networks. More than one million students are enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy courses at approximately 10,000 academies in 165 countries.

Economic Empowerment: Working with partners like the Grameen Foundation and Women’s World Banking,we support technology-based solutions to help micro-finance institutions expand the scale, efficiency, and social impact of their work in under-served communities around the world. We partner with One Economy which brings broadband to the homes of low-income people and provides capacity building resources through a multilingual web portal called The Beehive. Cisco has supported a number of One Economy programs and services, including the Beehive, Digital Connectors, and others. We are also supporting organizations like Samasource and Digital Divide Data, that connect talented young people from under-served communities with ICT employment opportunities.

Nivisha J. Mehta, Cisco Giving Counselor
Silicon Valley Community Foundation

BETF will continue to work with Tim and his chapter on other funding opportunities.

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