News Release

Cisco and the Red Cross Launch Global Volunteer Initiative

Just in Time for National Volunteer Week, Collaboration Creates Largest Corporate Disaster Response Volunteer Program in Red Cross History
Apr 20, 2010

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 20, 2010 - To help prepare their communities for, and respond to, natural and other disasters when and where they strike, the American Red Cross and Cisco today announced the creation of the largest corporate volunteer program in the history of the Red Cross. In an initiative called "Cisco's Ready," modeled after the Red Cross' "Ready When the Time Comes" training program for corporate personnel, Cisco employees around the world are undertaking emergency response training provided by the Red Cross. The announcement was made during 2010 National Volunteer Week.

Cisco employees will train for emergency response with more than 20 Red Cross chapters in the US and affiliates throughout the world. Volunteers will learn about applying essential principles to disaster response; providing mass care related to first aid, shelter, food and supply distribution; and about identifying volunteer opportunities. Trainees will qualify for Red Cross "Fulfilling Our Mission" and "Mass Care" certifications.

"When disasters strike, it is critical that we have a robust volunteer base prepared and able to mobilize quickly to help individuals and communities cope with and recover from their losses," said David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross. "We are grateful that Cisco's employees are investing their time, talent and resources in the global Red Cross network, making this initiative a model for global employee engagement and undoubtedly enhancing our capacity to manage future catastrophic emergencies."

Training has already begun and more than 3,000 of Cisco's 65,000 employees are expected to participate within the program's first year. Their time spent during the company's fiscal year 2010 will count toward a volunteer challenge, for which Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers asked employees to perform 200,000 collective hours of community service by year's end. For each eligible hour reported, the Cisco Foundation will contribute $10 to benefit the local Red Cross affiliate, up to $1,000 per employee per year.

"Community service has been an integral part of Cisco's company culture since our founding 25 years ago," said Terry Anderson, vice president of corporate relations, Cisco. "We're pleased to enhance our community service efforts through deepening our relationship with the American Red Cross and the global Red Cross network. By bolstering available employee volunteer resources, we hope to strengthen the abilities of our local communities around the world to quickly and effectively respond when it's needed the most."

A Decade of Responding Together

For over a decade, American Red Cross and Cisco have responded together to crises across the globe, most recently including earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and China; wildfires in Australia and California; and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. Since 2000, Cisco and its employees across the globe have contributed more than $12 million in donations as well as cash and product grants to support the U.S. Disaster Relief and International Response Funds, which enable the Red Cross to respond to countless crises at home and around the world each year.

Additional Resources

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at