Corporate Social Responsibility

Eligibility Requirements for Silicon Valley Impact Cash Grants

Silicon Valley Impact Cash Grants support the unmet needs of people in communities surrounding Cisco's corporate headquarters in San Jose, California. Before applying, interested nonprofits can determine their organization’s eligibility by reviewing the requirements below and Grant Giving Policies.

Organizational Requirements

  • Organizations within the United States (U.S.) must be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) and classified by the IRS as a public charity.
  • Organizations to be funded must serve an audience greater than 50 percent economically underserved relative to the average standards of the target geography.
  • Organizations and programs must focus on at least one of our social investment areas: access to education and/or critical human needs.
  • Silicon Valley Impact Cash Grants are available to qualifying organizations within a 50 mile radius of Cisco's corporate headquarters in San Jose, California. The physical headquarters of the organization need not be within this radius, as long as an affiliate office operates and/or administers programs within the specified area.
  • An organization's overhead is not to exceed 25 percent. (Organizations are occasionally exempt from this requirement; however, they must be exceptionally aligned with Cisco's values and criteria, and they must clearly explain and justify their overhead costs. Exemptions to the requirement on overhead expenses are determined on a case-by-case basis.)


Cisco will not consider incomplete proposals or paper-based applications. All applications must be completed using our online application form. Proposals in the following areas are not eligible for a Silicon Valley Impact Cash Grant.

  • Multi-year grant support requests
  • Public/private schools, charter schools, school districts, parent/booster clubs and school, college or university foundations.
  • Organizations whose primary mission is grant making or fundraising.
  • Programs such as athletic events, competitions or tournaments, conferences/seminars, festivals, field trips, and fundraisers including sponsorship of benefit dinners, walks/runs, golf tournaments, sports teams, etc.
  • Capital building funds, challenge grants and matching grants
  • Individuals seeking personal grant awards
  • Religious, political, or sectarian organizations  (Note: A direct service program run by a faith-based organization may be eligible. See Grant Giving Policies.)
  • Research projects/programs

Policy on the Funding of Equipment

In general, Cisco does not fund the purchase of computer hardware or software, but may consider doing so only in cases where: 1) such resources are leveraged in a strategically innovative manner, thereby extending their impact well beyond everyday/staff use; AND 2) such resources are not available through other, more cost-effective means such as in-kind donation. Applicants must demonstrate that they have thoroughly explored such avenues without success.

Cisco Grant Giving Policies

In addition, organizations must adhere to Cisco policies related to non-discrimination, religious proselytizing, non-support of violence and terrorism, advocacy, lobbying, and other political activities and other areas listed in Grant Giving Policies.