Cisco Foundations: Grants for STEM Education

OVERVIEW: The Cisco Systems Foundation’s science education-related giving supports K-8 programs focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as secondary and higher education programs focusing on technology, engineering, and math.

IP TAKE: Cisco's grant process is vague and requires grantseekers to network by introducing themselves. 

PROFILE: The philanthropic arm of the global technology giant, the Cisco Systems Foundation was established in 1997 and today it takes a broad approach to grantmaking. The foundation “supports Cisco’s efforts to team with nonprofit and non-governmental organizations around the world to develop technology-based solutions in our investment areas. [It focuses] this work on underserved communities and look for solutions that harness the power of the Internet and communications technology.” As a result, in invests in areas where it believes it can make the biggest impact. The foundation also invests in science education and nonprofits.

The foundation’s Education Investment area awards K-12 grants that support “the creation and deployment of technology-based solutions and education delivery models that improve student performance and engagement. We support K-8 programs that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies, and secondary and higher education programs related to technology, engineering, and math.” The foundation seeks programs that serve marginalized students and those at risk of dropping out of school, increasing STEM education capacity, and programs that increase access to, and the availability of, STEM education, products, and curriculum development services.

Cisco Systems Foundation grants range from $100,000 to $200,000. However, most grants range from $5,000 to $50,000. Past grantees include the Schmahl Science Workshop and the Sci-Tech Discovery Center.

Grantseekers should note that the foundation does not provide direct funding to schools. The foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications and request for funding for its Access to Education program.

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