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NetHope Announces $15 Million Digital Breakthrough Initiative with Support from Cisco

Five-Year Initiative Will Drive Emergency Preparedness, Support Nonprofit Cybersecurity and Launch New Climate Collaborations in Partnership with the Humanitarian Sector.


For immediate release

March 18, 2022

NetHope Communications Team

Washington, D.C. – March 18, 2022 – NetHope, a global consortium of over 60 of the world’s leading nonprofits, announced a $15 million multi-year grant from long-time corporate partner Cisco, a leader in enterprise networking and security, supported via Cisco’s donor-advised fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Initiative funding will aim to support, enhance, scale, and accelerate the digitally enabled programs and operations of NetHope and its nonprofit Member organizations around the world over five years.

Cisco was instrumental in the establishment of NetHope in 2001, and the organizations have worked together for over two decades to generate collective impact for social good and environmental action across the breadth of NetHope Members’ humanitarian and conservation programming.

The Digital Breakthrough Initiative will focus on evolving connectivity-as-aid for people affected by climate change-related emergencies and on seeding next-generation climate collaboratives and digital solutions in climate-affected communities in the more than 190 countries where NetHope Members operate locally.

“This funding from Cisco enables NetHope to evolve and expand our flagship Disaster Preparedness, Response and Resiliency Program,” said Lance Pierce, CEO of NetHope. “NetHope and our Members will be able to reduce the time it takes to reconnect life-saving digital networks so that hard-hit communities are more resilient and recover faster from climate-driven extreme weather emergencies and related disasters. These funds will help NetHope reorient our emergency work around localization and resiliency and facilitate a new wave of climate-focused partnerships and action across the relief, development and conservation sectors,” said Pierce.

The Digital Breakthrough Initiative will also focus on enhancing shared nonprofit cybersecurity capabilities, bolstering NetHope’s core capacity to better support Members, and scaling up the NetHope community’s collective ability in the face of cybercrime to help preserve program continuity for the 1.2 billion vulnerable people served by the NetHope Membership. The initiative will also elevate core capacity in strategic communications, monitoring-evaluation-accountability-learning (MEAL), and investment in digital leadership skills and capabilities across the NetHope community.

“As a technology company with the purpose of powering an inclusive future for all, we recognize that connectivity is critical to both recovering from crises and rebuilding stronger communities in their wake,” said Fran Katsoudas, Cisco Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer. “We’re proud to work with NetHope and its ecosystem of members to meet these challenges because we can only usher in an inclusive future if it is done by all, and for all.”

Through the Cisco Crisis Response (CCR) team, Cisco works to build the capacity and resilience of organizations working in emergency and humanitarian response. CCR provides an array of resources, including cash and product grants, technical expertise, guidance on network security and emergency connectivity, and on-the-ground equipment installations and deployments. 

“Our goal is to enhance the crisis response capabilities of humanitarian agencies by providing them, and the communities they serve, with secure connectivity solutions,” says Erin Connor, who leads Cisco Crisis Response. “We see the Digital Breakthrough Initiative and our partnership with NetHope, through its broad Member network, as critical to building the capacity of the sector to respond to the growing number of cyber threats, natural disasters, and refugee and humanitarian crises we are seeing.”

NetHope and Cisco Crisis Response have engaged in many joint deployments in recent years, including responses to hurricanes in the Caribbean and refugee crises in Europe, East Africa, and South America. We also anticipate providing connectivity and cyber-risk management support for the organizations helping refugees from the war in Ukraine through this new initiative.

NetHope, and its community of leading global humanitarian and conservation NGOs and digital innovators in the data and technology sectors, have been partnering for 20 years. They have responded to some of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises, bringing the benefits of digital technology to bear, helping the world’s most vulnerable communities, and leading the way in the ethical use of technology in the nonprofit sector. Through a collective sourcing approach, made possible because of the reach of NetHope’s partners and Member organizations, this effort will deliver better protection of sensitive information, enable nonprofits better to protect themselves in the face of proliferating cyber threats, and foster better risk management at lower cost with less effort. This multi-year gift is an investment in NetHope and its Members toward building the next twenty years of collective impact together for people and planet.

About NetHope
NetHope, a consortium of over 60 leading global nonprofits, unites technology companies and funding partners to design, fund, implement, adapt, and scale innovative approaches to solve development, humanitarian, and conservation challenges. Together, the NetHope community achieves positive change, building a shared platform for insight and action for those who receive aid, those who deliver it, and those who steward the environment for future generations. To learn more about NetHope, visit

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