Communities around the world are feeling the ongoing affects that the COVID-19 crisis has created. Some of our most vulnerable populations are facing challenges, including issues impacting health, personal wellbeing, and financial stability. In response, Cisco has announced that it is committed to supporting people and communities during this time by providing grants and resources to those around the world, and specifically those in low-income and vulnerable populations.
The company announced a $225 million commitment to support COVID-19 responses around the world—$8 million in cash and $210 million in product will be used to support healthcare and education, government response, and critical networking technology. A portion of our support, $2 million, will benefit the UN and World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The Cisco Foundation has also launched an employee matching gift campaign of up to $4 million in total giving, and allocated $1 million in additional grants to responding nonprofit partners.
Destination: Home and homelessness prevention in our backyard
We are giving an additional $2 million to Destination: Home to help prevent financial hardship and homelessness in Santa Clara County, California, where Cisco is headquartered. The community’s poorest households can be disproportionately affected during the COVID-19 crisis, as many may face a longer period of unemployment or pay cuts. This could result in the inability to pay rent and loss of housing. On March 23rd, Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins joined San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo, Destination: Home CEO Jennifer Loving, and other non-profit and government leaders to announce a financial assistance initiative to support low-income individuals in Santa Clara County, California, during this time. This meeting joined the private and public sector together to discuss programs to help the most vulnerable in our communities.
“Right now, we are under unprecedented pressure to assist and protect both people who are currently homeless as well as people at risk of becoming homeless,” says Loving, “The people most vulnerable to this virus are people who are already struggling with underlying medical conditions, and living in congregate settings also makes it impossible to practice both hygiene and social distancing. Further, there are already far too many families who are severely rent burdened and living paycheck to paycheck, and any interruption in hours will be catastrophic.”
Destination: Home is a Santa Clara County-based public-private partnership that works with local governments, private businesses and nonprofit service providers to end homelessness in Silicon Valley. As part of the organization’s collective impact model, Destination: Home brings stakeholders together to connect more of our homeless neighbors to stable housing and prevent homelessness before it begins. Through this community-wide effort, more than 14,000 people become permanently housed in the last five years and 96 percent of people placed in permanent supportive housing remained stably housed for at least 12 months. Read Destination: Home's Community Plan to End Homelessness annual report here.
Loving says that Cisco’s grant will go entirely to supporting families around Santa Clara county who need financial stability because of the COVID-19 crisis. In conjunction with 15 community-based organizations, Destination: Home will help provide financial assistance, services, and support for those who need it most.
According to Loving, even if you are not an executive, you can still make a huge difference to support the community.
“We have had an enormous drop in volunteers, many of whom are needed to do essential tasks like sorting food, delivering meals to homebound seniors, and rounding up supplies,” says Loving.
If you want to learn more about how to apply for assistance or where to donate, check out the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Fund here.