Marc Benioff, head of Salesforce an American cloud computing company headquartered specialising in customer relationship management products and social media acquisition functions, has called upon the tech billionaires of Silicon Valley to make a change.
A guest at the WIRED25 conference in San Francisco on Monday, Marc Benioff had a lot to say on the subject of how the tech giants spend their wealth. In particular, he felt as if there wasn’t enough being done to help those in need, both on their doorstep and beyond.
“I’ve gone, hat in hand to every high net worth individual in the city. I know who is willing to give money, and who isn’t,” he said, as he highlighted the plight of both the homeless, and US public schools. “You’re in two buckets,” he added, “You’re either for the homeless and for the kids or you’re for yourself.”
With 70 billionaires in Silicon Valley, and many more multi-millionaires, Benioff seemed genuinely disheartened at the lack of ongoing philanthropy which he saw taking place within the locality. He urged those who were listening to think of their communities and not just their shareholders.
“San Francisco is amazing,” said Benioff. “We have these incredible companies and entrepreneurs, innovation and technology, but we cannot separate ourselves from others. We have to get back to the feeling that we are one, and we are responsible for the city that we are living in and growing our businesses in.”
This comes in the wake of several statements in which the CEO also called for higher taxes and charges to be placed on tech companies, including his own. Benioff, however, is not afraid to put his money where his mouth is. According to CNBC:
Benioff, and Salesforce, have donated to a variety of causes, including some $250 million to support hospitals, $11 million to help the homeless, and $50 million to public schools in San Francisco and Oakland.
“Philanthropy can only go so far,” Benioff said. “I’m the largest employer in the city. I think it’s great and we have to do it. If we don’t do it, then it will become a material issue to our business. At what point do we say this is really out of control?”