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Cisco backs Food Bank

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh-based Food Bank of North Carolina has received a big boost from Cisco Systems in Research Triangle Park and begun the quiet phase of a capital campaign.

Cisco, through a workplace drive late last year, is giving $627,000 to the Food Bank, up from $347,000 a year earlier.

That includes $157,000 in employee donations plus matching gifts of $314,000 from the company and $156,000 from Cisco Chairman John Morgridge.

The donation will help the Food Bank distribute more than $6 million worth of food to more than 800 nonprofits that feed needy people in 34 Eastern North Carolina counties.

Cisco also has donated networking equipment to connect the Food Bank with its branches in Aberdeen, Durham, Greenville and Wilmington and help them manage inventory and serve member agencies.

Agencies can use a new internal Web site to order food, share electronic files and communicate with the Food Bank and one another.

And in a pilot initiative Cisco may expand nationally, Joe Novak, a senior director for advanced services, is spending six months at the Food Bank to help it install and use the new equipment, streamline operations and improve communications.

The campaign, chaired by former Gov. Jim Hunt and expected to exceed the $3.2 million raised in 1997 for a new warehouse, aims to increase to 30 million pounds from more than 20 million the food that the Food Bank distributes each year.

Jim Cain, a partner in the Raleigh office of law firm Kilpatrick Stockton and former president of the Carolina Hurricanes, has joined the campaign’s executive committee.

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