Cisco Systems is dedicating US$225 million in cash and product donations to support both global and local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to putting up funds, Cisco said it is rallying its 77,000 employees to also do what they can to help those on the front lines and nonprofits within their communities battling the outbreak.
“Cisco must, and will, do even more to help others respond to this global pandemic,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins (pictured) in a blog post published Sunday evening. "Many people in our communities were already struggling before this tragic pandemic. People who were already vulnerable are facing even more risks to their health, stability, housing, and well-being."
Cisco's investment includes $8 million in cash and $210 million in product that will be dispersed across several groups. Specifically, Cisco will be supporting health care, education, and government response, according to the company.
Cisco will be allocating some funds to the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, supporting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) worldwide efforts to help prevent, detect, and manage the spread of COVID-19, Robbins said.
Other monies will go toward Cisco's Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, which is helping provide funding for heads of state, government agencies, and businesses to quickly deploy COVID-19-related technology solutions, Robbins said. Additionally, Cisco is giving businesses and organizations on the front lines access to its security and collaboration solutions, including Cisco Umbrella and Webex, for free.
Robbins said that Cisco is launching a 72-hour giving campaign called “Let’s Give Together” this week to encourage donations from its employees. The Cisco Foundation is allocating up to $5 million in grants for causes that are important to its employees and is matching employee funds.
"I am certain that our people will continue to do what’s right for the world," Robbins said in his blog post. "We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our employees, customers, partners, and communities, and evaluate other ways we can help as things evolve. While our world will be different as we move into the future, it is important that we stay focused on making a positive impact in every way possible."
Cisco earlier this month issued a mandatory work from home order for the firm's Santa Clara headquarters, which is in one of the six counties included in the California’s March 16 "shelter in place" order. Cisco’s order also included its offices in China, Italy, South Korea, and Australia. On March 19, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order for all residents of the state to stay at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
A spokesperson for Cisco told CRN that Robbins last Monday gave Cisco's entire staff the directive to work from home.
Cisco also announced that Cisco Live, the tech giant's biggest event of the year that boasts about 25,000 attendees, will be a virtual event in June.