Cisco Systems Suspends Matching Gifts Program

Cisco Systems Suspends Matching Gifts Program

Rather than having to investigate the recipients of its employees' charitable gifts for terrorist ties, computer networking giant Cisco Systems has decided to suspend its matching gifts program altogether, Forbes magazine reports.

Cisco, which matched some $2.9 million in employee charitable contributions last year, is concerned about new guidelines from the U.S. Treasury Department on how to avoid funding terrorists, including one that asks charities to determine whether a foreign recipient's bank has controls against money laundering in place. "The [Cisco] Foundation doesn't want to have to be a watchdog," said a company spokesperson.

Other critics say the guidelines go too far. "If we did everything they're asking, we'd go from making four hundred grants a year to thirty," said Kavita Ramdas, president of the Global Fund for Women.

The Treasury Department's Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines: Voluntary Best Practices for U.S.-Based Charities (PDF, 7 pages) can be downloaded at http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/docs/tocc.pdf.

Kerry A. Dolan. "Excuse Me, Are You a Terrorist." Forbes 07/21/2003.