Salesforce Pumps Millions into Underserved Schools, the charitable arm of a cloud-computing company based in San Francisco, has been in a philanthropic relationship with two Bay Area school districts for five years now. This year, the combined $15.5 million donations put their contributions over $50 million.

San Francisco Unified School District will be receiving $8 million, and the slightly smaller Oakland Unified School District will get $7.5 million. The money is earmarked for STEM support, teacher training, and mindfulness projects.

Mindfulness, while something of a workplace buzzword, is a big focus for Salesforce’s charity organization. They want to promote education that takes into account a student’s whole life, a “whole child,” approach.

“Because we know that what happens outside of the classroom impacts what happens inside the classroom,” explained Ebony Frelix, the executive vice president and chief philanthropy officer of Putting their money where their mouth is, the organization also donated $2 million towards fighting youth homelessness, announced in the same breath on September 25, by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

London Breed, current Mayor of San Francisco, lauded the philanthropic organization.

“We are going to change what is normal in San Francisco because we are going to invest in our kids on the front end,” he said. “We are going to make sure that the doors of opportunity in the technology field are open to them.”

Oakland Unified School District, which will receive $7.5 million, has formed a “Principal’s Innovation Fund,” where the money can be used at the individual school level. So far, they have used past donations to create a makerspace, support students who are refugees, and incorporate mental health services, all of which increase the ways in which students can access their education. More of the funds have also gone into training teachers to more effectively teach and use technology, and to make computer science education more available.


Marc Benioff Teams up with Tipping Point to Urge Philanthropy in Silicon Valley

You already know that innovation and technology are the most prominent qualities found in Silicon Valley, but now you can also associate “philanthropy” with the land of start-ups. Earlier this month, founder Marc Benioff teamed up with Tipping Point Community, one of the largest poverty-fighting organizations in the Bay Area. Together, Benioff and Tipping Point hope to rally their successful neighbors in Silicon Valley in order to raise vital funds for local human service groups.

According to Philanthropy News Digest, “On Friday, [March 7] announced a partnership with Tipping Point Community to launch SF Gives, an initiative to build a coalition of twenty companies willing to commit at least $500,000 each to the fight against poverty.” SF Gives will hold major Silicon Valley companies accountable for their philanthropic efforts, and hopes to inspire a renewed culture of corporate philanthropy there. Reportedly, Benioff and Tipping Point have already raised more than $5 million through SF Gives from a range of local firms including LinkedIn, Google, Zynga, PopSugar, Jawbone, and Box.

Benioff, a native San Franciscan, is certainly no stranger to philanthropic work. He and his wife Lynne made a $100 million gift to the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in 2010, and has pledged to donate 1 percent of its equity, 1 percent of its employees’ time, and 1 percent of its products to charity. These efforts have elevated Benioff in the realm of corporate philanthropy, and have made him a model for philanthropic giving in the Bay Area.

Learn more about the companies that have donated funds, and about Benioff’s collaboration with Tipping Point by visiting the SF Gives project page.

Image via dfarber