Corporate Social Responsibility

Eligibility Requirements for Global Impact Grants


Global Impact Cash Grants  multiply the impact of eligible organizations around the globe with national or multinational operations. 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 must be recognized by the 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 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 65 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, economic empowerment, or critical human needs.
  • 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.)
  • The maximum request amount for first-time grant recipients is US$75,000.

Ineligible Programs and/or Activities

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

  • Miscellaneous exclusions: general operating expenses, other than directly associated with the program itself; individuals; research programs; membership-based activities; programs that promote or serve one culture, race, religion, population group, or political viewpoint - rather than the community at large; religious, political, or sectarian organizations. (Note: A direct service program run by a faith-based organization may be eligible. See Grant Giving Policies.)
  • Hospitals: Private or public hospitals; hospital foundations; medical centers, research centers, etc. (Programs based in a hospital may be eligible; however, grant funds must go exclusively to direct service in the community, not to general hospital operating expenses.)
  • Schools and scholarships: Private, public, or charter schools; school foundations, booster clubs, and/or fundraising organizations affiliated with a particular school; colleges/universities; scholarships, stipends or loans within a program; and/or school-related activities such as field trips, research programs, etc.
  • Events: athletic events, competitions, tournaments; conferences, seminars, workshops; festivals, field trips, or other recreational events; fundraising events or sponsorships (benefit dinners, walks/runs, concerts, sports teams, etc.).
  • Philanthropic: capital building funds, challenge grants, grant-making organizations (all other foundations including private foundations, family foundations, school foundations, etc.).

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.

Policy on Board Review and Approval

Cisco requires applicants to certify that the chairperson or at least one officer of the organization's Board of Directors has reviewed the grant proposal and that the organization's board is aware of the application and supports its submission. Cisco also requires applicants to certify the accuracy of the proposal and to confirm that the organization complies with the policies stated on this web site.

Policy on Reviews of Accuracy/Compliance

All applicants are subject to reviews of their representations in their grant applications, their compliance with the policies stated above, and, if applicable, their adherence to the terms of the grant contract. If such a review reveals significant inaccuracies or violations of the policies stated above, or if an organization does not cooperate with the review, the organization may be required to return any granted assets and forfeit future funding eligibility.

Written Grant Contract

Grantee organizations are required to sign a donation agreement electronically before donations can be delivered.

Reporting and Performance Tracking

Cisco looks for grant proposals in which concrete measures of success can be used to assess performance. Organizations that receive funding will be required to use our online grant platform to customize performance metrics for their project and measure their progress over the life of the grant award. Meaningful participation in this process is a requirement for continued funding eligibility.

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.