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Cuts at Cisco – Giving officer laid off

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By Todd Cohen

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The corporate giving staff in the Triangle for Cisco Systems fell victim to the company’s layoff this week of 8,500 workers.

Peter Tavernise, who the company hired in February as its top philanthropy and volunteerism officer in the Southeast, was among those laid off.

And Shelvette Adderly, a community investment representative, was moved to Cisco’s human resources department.

“Obviously, we’re going to lose the on-site presence here at RTP,” says Joe Freddoso, external affairs manager for Cisco’s Research Triangle Park operations.

Through an employee grants committee, Cisco will continue to provide $200,000 a year in support for nonprofits within 50 miles of the company’s RTP offices, which employed 3,200 before the cuts.

Cisco laid off 292 full-time employees and 100 temporary employees in the Triangle, or 12 percent of its local workforce, Freddoso says. That compares to 18 percent cut from the company’s worldwide payroll of 48,000.

Cisco will continue its commitment to a handful of nonprofits for which it provides special support, Freddoso says, including the Food Bank of North Carolina, the Triangle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross and local chapters of Habitat for Humanity in Durham, Orange and Wake counties.

The company also will continue to aggressively expand its program of networking academies in high schools, community colleges and four-year colleges and universities, he says.

Networking academies have been established in 70 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

The company also will continue to donate equipment to nonprofit groups, but its effort to develop strategies to help nonprofits better integrate technology into their operations – an effort that Tavernise was overseeing – will be put on hold.

“The long-term plan is to have a direct presence in RTP,” Freddoso says. “No one could foresee the challenges we face right now and the economic downturn. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the way conditions are rather than the way we wish they would be.”

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