Grant Giving Policies

Supporting innovative social investment

Cisco and the Cisco Foundation provide cash, products, and people to support organizations with scalable, replicable, and sustainable solutions that use Internet and network technology to benefit individuals and communities around the world. Each grant program has specific eligibility requirements. All programs adhere to Cisco’s grant giving policies.

Policy on non-discrimination

Cisco Systems, Inc. (Cisco) and the Cisco Foundation prohibit discrimination against any person or population group with regard to categories protected by applicable U.S. law, as well as other categories identified by Cisco in alignment with our own Human Resources policies. These include, but are not limited to, age, ancestry, color, citizenship, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical conditions, national origin, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status.

This policy applies to any organization requesting and/or receiving any type of support from Cisco/Cisco Foundation, and pertains to both: (1) provision of services, and (2) hiring practices. No person(s) may be denied service by the organization, and/or employment at the organization, based on any of the categories stated above.

Policy on non-adherence and non-conversion to religious doctrine

Clarification on non-discrimination related to religion: Cisco and the Cisco Foundation will not support any organization which requires adherence or conversion to any religious doctrine in order to either be a beneficiary of the program, or to be an employee of the organization. To clarify, a direct service program run by a faith-based organization may be eligible, provided that the program's beneficiaries are not required to adhere or to convert to that organization's religious doctrine as a condition of receiving service from the program. Likewise, Cisco will not support any organization that requires adherence or conversion to any religious doctrine in order to be an employee of the program.

Policy on non-support of violence and terrorism

It is our mission to fund nonpartisan service organizations that adhere rigorously to fundamental human rights principles. We do not knowingly support grantee organizations that endorse, support, or promote violence, terrorist activity, or related training, whether through their own activities or indirectly through their support of, support by, or cooperation with, other persons and organizations engaged in such activities.

We require our grantees to confirm that they do not engage in or support such activities, and we vet potential grantees with care. If a grantee appears to be in violation of this policy, we will suspend funding immediately and require the grantee to freeze grant funds until we have investigated the matter.

If our investigation discloses violations of this policy, we will require the grantee to return all grant funds; we will classify the grantee as ineligible for future funding; and we will take such other steps as the law may require.

Policy on advocacy, lobbying, and other political activity

Cisco's policy with respect to providing grant support to organizations that engage in advocacy and/or lobbying is subject to our diversity policy. This policy states that Cisco does not promote or discriminate against any person, population group, or organization with regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender expression, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or other categories protected by applicable United States law.

In accordance with this policy, Cisco will not provide grant support to any organization that advocates or lobbies against any such protected category.

Furthermore, in order to avoid actual or apparent preferences for any protected or non-protected category over another, Cisco may reject grant support to any organization that lobbies or advocates for or against any single person, population group, organization, or cause/issue (e.g., political position, policy, law/legislation, etc.).

In addition, grantees that are classified as charitable organizations under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code must certify to Cisco that they comply with applicable law regarding limits on their lobbying activity and that they do not engage in prohibited electioneering activity.

Finally, Cisco does not permit its grant funds to be applied to any individual program of a grantee that involves any type of lobbying or other political activity.

Note: "Lobbying" is defined in Section 4945(e) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code to mean attempts to influence legislation through grassroots lobbying of the public or direct lobbying of government officials. Certain exceptions exist (e.g., for nonpartisan analysis or invited testimony).

"Legislation" includes all matters that may be voted upon by the U.S. Senate or House of Representations, a state legislature, a local city or county council, an Indian tribal body, or a legislative body in a foreign nation, including votes taken by a committee of such body. Such matters may include votes to approve executive or judicial appointments of public officials as well as new laws or repeal of existing laws. "Legislation" also includes laws voted upon by the people in an initiative, referendum or other vote taken within a national, state, or local area.

"Political" refers to any payment made or action taken, directly or indirectly, to influence the outcome of any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for elective public office, including oral or written statements. Such activity is prohibited for tax-exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

Miscellaneous policies

Cisco only considers applications from organizations that meet the basic criteria, guidelines, and requirements as defined for each grant program. All applications must be completed using our online application form. Cisco will not consider incomplete proposals or paper-based applications. Application guidelines and requirements are subject to change without notice, and become effective immediately upon posting to this web site.

The interpretation and application of these policies is wholly within the discretion of Cisco and the Cisco Foundation. Furthermore, all grants are made at the discretion of Cisco and the Cisco Foundation. Qualification under the policies listed above does not entitle an organization to receive a grant. We reserve the right to decline to make any grant requested.

Eligibility for specific grant programs

Each Cisco grant program has unique requirements and restrictions. Go to the grant program to determine eligibility.