Global Impact Cash Grants

Cisco Foundation

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Grant amount: Up to US $75,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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About this funder:



Global Impact Cash Grants

Cisco welcomes applications for Global Impact Cash Grants from community partners around the world who share our vision and offer an innovative approach to a critical social challenge.

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.

Investment Areas

Cisco seeks to identify, incubate, and develop innovative solutions that solve challenging socioeconomic conditions where we can have the most impact:

  • critical human needs,
  • access to education, and
  • economic empowerment.

Education Investments

Cisco supports the creation and deployment of technology-based solutions and education delivery models that improve student performance and engagement. We support K-8 programs that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies, and secondary and higher education programs related to technology, engineering, and math. What we look for:

  • Innovative solutions to increase the capacity of grantees to deliver, administer, and track education development more effectively and efficiently.
  • Tools which increase the availability of, or improve access to, products or services for curriculum development, student-centricity, teacher development, and parental participation.
  • Programs for underserved populations and students at greatest risk of dropping out.

Note: Cisco does not provide direct funding to schools.

Economic Empowerment

Cisco's strategy is to encourage employment success, entrepreneurship, and long-term self-sufficiency by providing access to skills, knowledge, and financial products and services via technology-based solutions. What we look for:

  • Programs for underserved populations transitioning from education to workforce or re-entry to workforce.
  • Solutions that facilitate widespread and equitable access to resources needed to achieve economic self-sufficiency and participate in local socio-economic development.
  • Tools which increase the reach, efficiency, sustainability, transparency and social impact of microfinance institutions to provide more access to financial products and services.
  • Initiatives that support knowledge access and technical and leadership skills development to equip people for the workforce and to make informed decisions for their families.

Critical Human Needs

Cisco seeks to help overcome the cycle of poverty and dependence through strategic investments in organizations that successfully address basic needs of underserved communities. We believe that children who have good health and a place to call home are better equipped to learn. What we look for:

  • Innovative solutions to increase the capacity of grantees to deliver their products and services more effectively and efficiently.
  • Design and implementation of web-based tools which increase the availability of, or improve access to, products and services that are necessary for people to survive and thrive.
  • Programs that provide clean water, food, shelter, disaster response and other essential prerequisites to self-sufficiency.

Note: By policy, relief campaigns respond to significant natural disaster and humanitarian crises as opposed to those caused by human conflict.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • 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 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:
          • 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.)
      • 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.


      • 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.)
        • 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.).
      • In general, Cisco does not fund the purchase of computer hardware or software, but may consider doing so only in cases where:
        • such resources are leveraged in a strategically innovative manner, thereby extending their impact well beyond everyday/staff use; AND
        • 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.