We identify, incubate, and develop innovative solutions with the most impact. Global Impact Cash Grants go to nonprofits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that address a significant social problem. We’re looking for programs that fit within our investment areas, serve the underserved, and leverage technology to improve the reach and efficiency of services. We accept applications year-round from eligible organizations. An initial information form is used to determine whether your organization will be invited to complete a full application.
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 the grant giving policies.
- 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 provide information and documents to determine whether the organization is the equivalent of a U.S. public charity.
- 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: crisis response, access to education, economic empowerment, and/or climate impact and regeneration.
- For education, crisis response, and economic empowerment proposals, we will also consider proposals that address environmental sustainability within the context of that investment area. For example, we would consider funding an economic empowerment program that specifically focuses on creating green jobs.
- A nonprofit 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 Foundation does not tend to make grants to colleges and universities. In the case that such a grant may be made, Cisco Foundation does not support additional institutional overhead rates for colleges and universities.
- 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 our 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.)
- Healthcare: programs focused on improving physical or mental health.
- 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.
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