India Cash Grant Program

By supporting the underserved through multiple interventions that help them thrive in a digital economy, we’re leveraging technology for social good.

Grants that support innovation and collaboration

The India Cash Grant program uses innovation to identify news ways to solve challenges and partners with civil society agencies and key stakeholders to collaborate effectively. Our partners help create technology-based solutions that improve lives and enable an inclusive future for all. Reflecting Cisco’s global CSR efforts, our purpose in India goes beyond profits to benefit our employees, communities, and the planet.

Focus areas for funding include:

  • Critical human needs and crisis response
  • Education
  • Economic empowerment

CSR governance, policy, and projects

Following is the CSR committee, policy document, and list of current projects for the India Cash Grants program.

CSR Committee:

  • Mr. Harish Krishnan, Managing Director & Chief Policy Officer (Executive Sponsor)
  • Mr. Joginder Yadav , Director, Legal & General Counsel, India (Board Member)
  • Mr. Vijayanush N , Chief Financial Officer , India (Board Member)
  • Ms. Rohini Kamath, Program Manager, India Cash Grant Program
  • Mr. Tarun Anthony, Portfolio Manager, India Cash Grant Program

Community partners

Following are recent community partners supported through Cisco’s India Cash Grant Program (IGGP). We make grants in three investment areas: critical human needs and crisis response; economic empowerment; and education.

Critical human needs and crisis response partners

Akshaya Patra Foundation

A legacy partner of the India Cash Grant Program, Cisco has helped the organization reach more than 250,000 students cumulatively over several years of partnership. Additionally, Cisco supported the team in digitizing seven kitchens and two offices across the country through a one-time grant. The savings from this process could feed more than 2,000 students every year. The organization is also the preferred partner for relief efforts in the aftermath of a disaster. The ICGP program supported the provision of meals during the Chennai Floods in 2015—and more recently helped provide 600,000 cooked meals during the first wave of COVID, as well as providing grocery kits to 36,000 students and student families during the second wave of COVID. 

ActionAid India

To support uptake of COVID 19 vaccination in Tamil Nadu, Cisco partnered with ActionAid India—an organization that has been working on vaccine delivery to vulnerable population by partnering with key stakeholders within the health department. In Tamil Nadu, the efforts are focused across Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai, and Dharmapuri. The Action Aid team has been working with local Panchayat members to build awareness on vaccination and challenge myths and misinformation attached to the vaccine. The project aims to administer 260,000 doses to individuals over 18+ years of age by March 2023.

Piramal Swasthya

This organization focuses on bridging public healthcare gaps by supplementing and complementing the Government of India’s vision to provide Universal Health Coverage. Their efforts in the primary public healthcare space focus on maternal health, child/adolescent health, and non-communicable diseases—thereby addressing the primary healthcare needs of the most underserved and marginalized populations across India. Cisco saw a unique opportunity to partner with Piramal Swasthya through “Niramay”—a collaboration between the National Health Mission, Assam, Piramal Swasthya and Cisco—to demonstrate the integration of digital health technology to strengthen public health care delivery in Assam. This project will enable telemedicine interactions, rapid diagnostics, maintenance of patient health records, and data collection at the grass-root level in three aspirational districts in Assam. The program is working to digitize the health records of over 100,000 patients, of which 98% have made use of specialist care. The project is currently entering its second year of implementation. 

Save the Children

Cisco recognized the need to support and drive vaccination among vulnerable communities and thus partnered with two organizations to advance this goal. The partnership with Save The Children, entitled “Project Pratiraksha,” is helping to strengthen COVID-19 vaccination uptake and coverage in the districts of Balrampur and Shravasti in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The project focuses on high-risk areas and high-risk populations, including marginalized communities who have a high level of vaccination hesitancy. The project is expected to impact over 250,000 individuals.


With a goal to streamline data collection and processing at the end beneficiary stage, Cisco partnered with Swasti Health Catalyst via a yearlong engagement. The Digitally Inclusive Community Engagement flow (DICEflow) is a tool that offers a flexible and streamlined digital approach to engaging with communities. Scalable and flexible enough to suit the most complex processes, this product uses technology to ensure efficient data collection by field workers. DICE Flow is currently being used by 33 organizations at the grassroot level with a reach of over 700,000 people.

United Way Delhi

In the aftermath of the second wave of COVID-19 in 2022, Cisco partnered with United Way Delhi to providing critical medical equipment to hospitals treating and preparing for COVID-19. Cisco’s grant helped augment medical equipment availability in up to 15 hospitals across Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, and Bengaluru to strengthen COVID-19 response. This project is estimated to support over 20,000 people directly, including patients and hospital staff. United Way also worked closely with the local administration to optimize infrastructure and provide timely aid to hospitals, COVID-19 care centers, and testing labs. The partnership was critical to supporting administrations during the second wave and additionally to help them prepare for future waves.

Education community partners

Akshara Foundation

Akshara Foundation is an organization with a mission to universalize equitable access to quality pre-school and elementary education for all children through multiple models. Math and foundational numeracy are at the heart of their learning model, and so is their partnership with Cisco. Over a three-year partnership, the team at Akshara Foundation developed Building Blocks—an app-based solution. This free learning app provides access to math practice and learning for children in grades 1 through 5 via interactive games. Learn more about Building Blocks via this video.

Center for Networked Intelligence

Cisco partnered with the Indian Institute for Science (IISc) Bangalore—a premier research institute in the country—to set up The Centre for Networked Intelligence. The project proceeds from the premise that, when every object is connected within a networked system and is easily accessible, the value of the object and the system to which it is connected increases many-fold, thereby better fulfilling to the promise of networked intelligent systems. This type of large-scale sensing and data gathering effort can result in greater social good by deriving actionable insights from the gathered data. The purpose of the center is to enable the creation of the intellectual capital needed to realize this promise. In June 2021, the Quacquarelli Symonds World Rankings 2022 identified the IISc in Bangalore as a top research institute in world.

Gooru India Foundation

Via a multiyear partnership, “Navigator Disha” was created to contextualize an existing offering by Gooru—the Learning Navigator Platform and its various apps—with offline features in India, thereby better supporting all types of learners in technologically challenged environments, especially those with intermittent or poor connectivity. The project is currently in its second year of funding and implementation. While there are several products and solutions aimed to help children learn, there are very few that help track the journey of a learner in a calibrated manner to provide the most appropriate inputs in situations with low connectivity. The tool is currently being used by 1,500 teachers impacting 25,000 students. 

Indus Action

A unique collaboration at the intersectionality of policy, technology, and inclusion, Cisco embarked on a three-year partnership with Indus Action through project “Eklavya”—supporting the effective implementation of the Right to Education Act, 2005. Data is at the heart of effective policy implementation, and technology-enabled, highly efficient data collection helps drive timely decision-making. Cisco’s grant supported the development and maintenance of the Management Information Systems for state governments, helplines for different streams, and an in-house tool known as the Campaign Management System (CMS). During the pandemic, the organization’s approach became relevant to use cases beyond education. Over 500,000 individuals have been reached and benefitted from this partnership.

Leadership For Equity

An organization focused on systemic change in the education sector, Leadership for Equity partnered with Cisco to launch the Leadership Enhancement & Academic Development (LEAD) program—a first-of-its-kind, government-certified blended learning course for officers in the education department in the state of Maharashtra. Offered in regional languages, the compelling and research-backed content consists of contextualized field-based examples and case studies focused on program design, implementation skills, and organizational skills, such as team management for the middle-level management of the education department. These courses are relevant to officers across departments in the country. These individuals are responsible for policy implementation on ground and are the crucial connection between schools and the education department. Watch this video to learn more. 

Meghshala Online

Through a two-year partnership, Cisco supported Meghshala Trust—a program designed to reach and impact students in the states of Manipur and Sikkim in partnership with the education department. Meghshala’s digital teach kits provide access to contextualized pedagogic practices in everyday classroom learning with the use of images, videos, activities, and strategies—helping convert the classroom into an active learning space. The grant additionally supported the development of an offline content box to help communities in remote geographies with limited connectivity to access content easily and equitably. The effort benefitted over 35,000 students and teachers combined. Watch this video to learn more. 

Pratham Books

Guided by a vision to put a book in the hands of every child, Pratham Books is a leading nonprofit publisher in India. Their platform, Storyweaver, is a treasure trove of books for young readers, with books available in over 300 languages. Cisco partnered with Pratham Books to increase the number books focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) available for young readers. The grant also funded the set-up of physical libraries in schools for underserved and low-income private schools. Through the three-year engagement with 2,000+ libraries, an impressive 200,000+ books in five different languages have been distributed. (Each library contains 100+ books.) All books are available for free on Storyweaver. Online versions of the books funded through the partnership—with topics that range from cybersecurity to the Internet of things—can be found on the exclusive Cisco link.

Sikshana Foundation

Cisco supported Sikshana Foundation over a three-year period to develop and implement "Prerana 2.0"—an initiative aiming to address foundational arithmetic skills in students with needs across government-run schools in Karnataka. The program is designed to address student needs through a customized Learning-Achievement Path (CLAP). It provides an experiential learning module for all students, with an opportunity for average & above-average students to build and strengthen their 21st-century skills through Project-Based Learning (PBL). The plan to provide personalized learning was piloted across two districts of the state at scale and then implemented statewide, ultimately reaching 1.8 million students. 

Economic empowerment community partners

Cisco Agri Challenge

Announced in December 2020 in partnership with the Principal Scientific Advisors Office, the Government of India, and The Nudge, this challenge was designed to identify solutions that have the potential to create impact at scale for small and marginalized farmers. The challenge mobilized agriculture startups working towards income generation and sustainable livelihoods for underserved farmers, while delivering positive economic, social, and environmental value. The quantitative goal was to identify solutions with a potential to impact 10 million lives over 5 years. S4S Technologies was selected as the winner, and Bioprime Agrisolutions emerged as the runner-up. More than 800 applicants were reviewed for the challenge. Learn more.

Krishi Mangal

Launched in 2021 in partnership with Social Alpha, Krishi Mangal is a scale-up accelerator to support startups working on solutions for smallholder farmers. Although several technology-based innovations exist to address challenges in agriculture, smallholder farmers have had limited opportunity to access and benefit from those solutions. In the first cohort of the program, five in-revenue startups were selected and provided support through the year to scale their interventions. Primary outcomes included increasing incomes, creating jobs, and promoting micro-entrepreneurship along agriculture and its associated value chain. As part of the accelerator, Cisco funded the development of an open innovation platform for the Agri sector to democratize innovation in the sector. Over 17,000 farmers were directly impacted through the program. To learn more about the program’s impact, watch this video

Quest Alliance

Recognizing the need for and importance of employability skills being offered across Industrial Training Institutes (ITI’s) in the country, Cisco has partnered with Quest Alliance. The partnership has reached over 115,000+ students directly in government-operated Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) across Gujarat, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Bihar, seeking to equip them with employability skills and placement opportunities. As a result of Cisco’s partnership with Quest Alliance, over 1,500+ ITI trainers have received training and support, and a cumulative total of 26,000+ students have been placed into full-time jobs. To scale the impact, Cisco is an anchor partner of the Future Right Skills Network, along with Accenture and J.P. Morgan. The network is supported by civil society organizations and state governments in partnership with the Directorate General of Training (DGT) under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. FRSN is on a mission to empower young people in technical and vocational training institutes with employability skills for the knowledge economy.


An initiative conceptualized within Cisco, thingQbator is a network of maker spaces in universities wherein students can learn about digital technologies in a hands-on environment, turn their ideas into working prototypes—and in the process curate local solutions to local problems. The program is being implemented across 30 universities in the country by our program partner, Nasscom Foundation. Over a four-year period, Cisco has invested in growing this program that has successfully moved students from job seekers to job creators. In the process, the ecosystem has been enriched with learning material that is most relevant for young entrepreneurs. To date, over 40,000 students have been reached through this program. The program has received 2,000+ ideas that have been reviewed and nurtured. Industry experts have been recruited to provide mentorship and guidance every step of the way. Out of the 31 incubatees, there are 23 active startups to date. Meet the teams.

Global CSR Grant Programs

Cisco and the Cisco Foundation partner with nonprofit organizations around the world, helping to solve global problems through cash grants, technology, and shared expertise.