Cisco Systems Foundation: Grants for Public Health

OVERVIEW: The Cisco Foundation’s public health giving provides grants to help meet “critical human needs” and provide healthcare to underserved populations.

IP TAKE: As the philanthropic arm of an important technology company, Cisco Foundation loves giving to tech-savvy public health organizations. Meet its criteria for eligibility and your organization could receive one of the many grants it hands out every year.

PROFILE: Like many organizations, the Cisco Foundation’s giving fell off in the mid-2000s, but it has bounced back since 2010. Each year it awards a number of public health grants to hospitals, clinics, resource centers and other community health facilities.

Cisco Foundation awards grants in regions of the country in which it has a significant operational presence. Qualifying organizations must, at the very least, have an affiliate location within a 50 mile radius of “Cisco major site communities.” In the U.S., these major site communities include the cities of Boxborough, Massachusetts; Lawrenceville, Georgia; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; Richardson, Texas; and San Jose, California.

Cisco Foundation gives most of its public health money to program development through its Global Impact Cash Grants program. One of the investment areas of this program is Critical Human Needs, which include clean water, food, shelter, and disaster response.

Eligible programs will “address a significant social problem with unmet needs” that requires urgent action. They will serve the underserved — in fact, Cisco requires that 50 percent of the constituency be economically underserved. The higher the proportion, the better.

Consistent with the networking products that Cisco Systems specializes in, the foundation likes to give to organizations that use the internet and technology. It’s not an absolute requirement, but a tech component is sure to help your program’s chances at receiving funding.

The foundation also offers Silicon Valley Impact Cash Grants of $15,000 for "programs that promote wellness and positive health habits, especially in the areas of obesity and violence prevention as these epidemics affect children." These grants are for organizations located within 50 miles of San Jose, California.

Although the foundation’s applications are by invitation only, grantseekers can complete a pre-eligibility quiz to see if their organizations qualify. Silicon Valley Impact Cash Grants have an open application process.

Grants from Cisco run anywhere from $10,000 to over $250,000, though most fall in the $10,000 to $50,000 range. 

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