Cisco responds to the Foundation’s appeal to support first responders during the crisis with financial hardship grants and scholarships

NEW YORK, N.Y. – April 30, 2020 – First Responders Children’s Foundation announced today that Cisco Systems has made a donation of $1 million to the Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund.  Cisco Systems answered a recent appeal to industry leaders by the Foundation to “Give More Grants” to first responders on the front lines of the pandemic. The Gift will support first responders experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic through grants to first responders and public safety agencies across the country and college scholarships for children of first responders who have passed away as a result of COVID-19. In response to the pandemic, First Responders Children’s Foundation has

  • Funded more than 11,000 hotel room nights so first responders don’t have to go home and infect their families or can self-quarantine.
  • Awarded more than $1 million in immediate grants to hundreds of first responders with financial hardship due to COVID-19.
  • Distributed more than 100,000 FDA certified, surgical grade masks to first responders without disrupting the supply chain of N95 masks for hospitals.
  • Paid for funerals of first responders who have died from COVID-19.
  • Continues a 19 year mission funding college scholarships benefiting worthy children with first responder parents who have been killed or injured in the line of duty.

The Foundation defines first responders as emergency medical technicians, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and employees supporting first responders such as 911 dispatchers. Also eligible are medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients. Applicants complete a simple application on the Foundation’s website,  

In keeping with First Responders Children’s Foundation’s mission to provide college scholarships, the Foundation will award scholarships to children of first responder parents who have died from COVID-19. For nearly 20 years, the Foundation has provided college scholarships to children of first responder parents who have been killed or permanently injured in the line of duty. The Foundation will continue to be there for the children of first responders who make the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As COVID-19 continues to infect communities across the nation, the need for grants within the first responder community continues to grow, and the Foundation has set a fundraising goal of $200 million to meet the projected needs of first responders. In response to the growing need, the Foundation asked companies in every industry including apparel, entertainment, food and beverage, insurance, licensing, pharmaceutical, technology, transportation, and others to support the Emergency Response Fund to help “Give More Grants” to first responders.

Cisco Systems, has 35 years of history supporting communities and recognizes the impact that First Responders Children’s Foundation is having on the lives of first responders during the crisis. The Foundation hopes that other industry leaders, especially those in the technology sector, will feel inspired and also donate to help the Foundation give more grants to our heroes on the front lines and their families.

“For more than two decades, Cisco Systems has provided critical support for first responders and their families,” said Jillian Crane, President of First Responders Children’s Foundation. “During this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic crisis, Chuck Robbins, Dan Stevens, and the entire Cisco family have answered the call and are true national and global heroes of the rescue effort just as they were after September 11th, 2001. There is no doubt that first responders and their families can count on Cisco. Thank you, Cisco, for all you do for First Responders Children’s Foundation and for the world.”

In recent weeks, First Responders Children’s Foundation was a charity partner of the “Fox Presents iHeart Living Room Concert for America” and the “One World: Together at Home” concerts paying tribute to first responders on the front lines of the pandemic with performances from Billie Eilish, Celine Dion, Chris Martin, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend, Lizzo, The Rolling Stones, and others.

The Foundation’s #FirstRespondersStrong social media campaign is celebrating the resiliency and strength of first responders, encouraging first responders to post videos from the front lines, and asking civilians to share messages of appreciation. The Foundation released two PSAs thanking first responders and raising awareness about how they protect our communities. The PSAs feature the songs “Underdog” by Alicia Keys and “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves, and the artists performed both songs during the benefit concerts. The singer-songwriters have donated permission to use their music in support of first responders. PSAs can be found at or click here to watch “Rainbow” and here to watch “Underdog”.


Grant applications are being accepted online by visiting:

Media Contact:
 First Responders Children’s Foundation

Joanna Black   
+1 (646) 912-2681

About First Responders Children’s Foundation

For the past 20 years, First Responders Children’s Foundation has been providing college scholarships to children of first responders who have lost a parent in the line of duty. The Foundation also awards grants to families enduring significant financial hardship and supports programs operated by law enforcement organizations whose purpose is to benefit children or the community in which they live. The Foundation’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade breakfast hosts children and family members of those lost in the line of duty for a free breakfast and front-row view of the Parade so those families can gather and heal during what might otherwise be a stressful holiday. More information can be found at Follow First Responders Children’s Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @1strcf.