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Change at Cisco – Invitation-only

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Cisco Systems plans to make bigger grants but fewer of them, says Joe Freddoso, senior manager of external affairs.

Cisco has made 10 to 15 grants a year in the Triangle ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 – totaling $200,000 a year – to nonprofits that address basic needs for food, clothing and shelter, and that focus on workforce development and education.

Now, Cisco’s foundation will make grants to groups it invites to seek funding.

The foundation will make grants twice a year totaling $200,000 a year, Freddoso says.

Cisco also will continue special funding for the Food Bank of North Carolina, Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross, and will look for additional special funding relationships.

“We’re going to give fewer grants each grant cycle for larger amounts of money, but we’re going to continue to survey the marketplace in those a areas and continue to look for new ideas that fit within the goals of the foundation,” Freddoso says.

The company also is paying one-third of the salaries, plus full benefits, for eight Cisco fellows – former employees Cisco laid off earlier this year but who agreed to work for a year for nonprofit groups.

The company also funds about 145 Cisco academies at high schools, community colleges and four-year colleges throughout North Carolina – up from 50 a year-and-a-half ago. The academies train students to design, build, manage and maintain Cisco networks, and be certified as network managers.

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