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Kam, Jennifer

Corporate philanthropy is the act of corporations giving. It is the process of giving back to a community by giving cash, product, time, training, ;ending of employees, and necessary equipment to build sustainable educational systems and social structures. Cisco Systems has had a corporate philanthropy program, Corporate Social Responsibility Program, since its inception, providing millions of dollars to supports social and environmental sustainability. Cisco provides networking equipment and training across the world and partners with many companies to assist community development.

One of Cisco's partners are Teachers Without Borders who help with networking equipment and internet connectivity for education in rural areas. They also partner with Inveneo a company that also believes in providing sustainable solutions for development, one of their projects included a challenge to set up a network for a small city in Uganda: "After conducting an initial pilot in Uganda, Inveneo launched their first low-power, highly-affordable and accessible hardware and software solution in 2006.

The systems developed by Inveneo are designed to help organizations such as schools, governments, NGOs, and private enterprises deliver vital services to the rural poor such as education, healthcare, economic development, crisis relief, and telecenters. To help offset connectivity issues and environmental challenges, Inveneo’s solutions incorporate cost-efficient and sustainable features such as open-source software and operating systems, ultra-low-power computing, and long-distance wireless connectivity."

YouTube Video

Google has a new philanthropy programmed called "Random Hacks of Kindness" that "brings together volunteer programmers and experts in disaster response [seminar] for a two-day hackathon to create software solutions that focus on problems related to disaster risk and response." They are creating and improving upon open-source applications for disaster recovery.

IBM's version of corporate philanthropy is called Corporate Citizenship where they use a grid computing technology: "Our World Community Grid initiative utilizes grid computing technology to harness the tremendous power of idle computers to perform specific computations related to critical research around complex biological, environmental and health-related issues.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tops the list of philanthropists giving $2,805,251,969 in 2008. Their "Rivers of Technology" program brings computer libraries to rural communities. This picture from their website depicts their Helping Girls and Women a "program particularly [which] benefits girls and women, who are restricted by religious and social rules from traveling outside their own villages for education and training. As a result, female literacy rates are rising and women are developing skills for starting their own businesses."

IT and corporate philanthropy is changing the world as we know it, connecting people and developing communities with innovative technology. There are many ways for individuals to give as well. We can start by contributing or volunteering in our local communities, or ask your company if they have a philanthropy department where your strengths can be utilized to help build a sustainable world. 

If you choose to, how will you give back to your community? Here are a few links that help others build sustanable environments.

The Heifer project - Donating farm animals to for sustainable living - http://www.heifer.org/#
World Concern Global Gift Guide - http://www.worldconcern.org/globalgiftguide/
Computers with Causes - New and used computer donations are appreciated - http://www.computerswithcauses.org/

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Here is a Google Gadget from the Encyclopaedia Britannica that gives many examples of people in philanthropy.

philanthropy - Selections from Encyclopaedia Britannica

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