Corporate Social Responsibility

Eligibility Requirements for Community Impact Cash Grants

Community Impact Cash Grants support the unmet needs of people in communities where Cisco has a presence and a strong volunteer program. Before applying, invited 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 from outside the United States (U.S.) must (a) provide information and documents to determine whether the organization is the equivalent of a U.S. public charity, or (b) agree to sign and comply with an expenditure responsibility contract. Cisco will determine whether (a) or (b) is appropriate for a particular organization.
  • 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.
  • Community Impact Cash Grants are available to qualifying organizations within a 50 mile radius of Cisco major site communities including Bangalore, India; Boxborough, Massachusetts; Lawrenceville, Georgia; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; Richardson, Texas; San Jose, California; Shanghai/Beijing, China; Toronto, Canada; and other Cisco locations that have significant employee engagement. 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 Community 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.