Corporate Social Responsibility

Eligibility Requirements for Product Grants

Cisco’s Product Grant Program accepts applications year-round from qualified charitable organizations to help them realize significant gains in productivity, scalability, and cost-efficiency. Before applying, nonprofits can determine their eligibility by reviewing the requirements below and Grant Giving Policies.
NOTE: Small organizations with one to several sites or requests under US$15,000 list price are fulfilled by our partner TechSoup.

Organizational Requirements

  • Organizations within the United States (U.S.) 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 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 must serve the community at large.
  • 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. The maximum request amount for first-time Customized Connectivity Grant recipients is US$50,000 (list price) of equipment.
  • If you require equipment above the TechSoup limit or if the equipment you require is not offered, then you may apply for a Customized Connectivity Grant.

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 Product Grants:

  • Programs or organizations that re-grant or loan funds.
  • Programs which require exposure, adherence to, or conversion to any religious doctrine in order to be a beneficiary of the program. (Note: A direct service program run by a faith-based organization may be eligible. See Grant Giving Policies.)
  • Individuals are not eligible. (Program is open to organizations only.)
  • Start-up/new nonprofits (i.e. those with less than one year of successful operations)
  • Multi-year grants
  • Proposals in combination or in support of a product sale
  • Schools & scholarships:
    • Public schools or school systems
    • Private schools
    • Charter schools
    • School foundations
    • Booster clubs or other fundraising organizations affiliated with particular school(s)
    • Colleges/universities
    • Scholarships/stipend programs of any kind
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Hospitals

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.