Lynne and Marc Benioff at the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay job site.
Photo by Gabriela Hasbun for The Wall Street Journal
Salesforce.com founder and San Francisco native Marc Benioff announced that he and his wife, Lynne, will focus their philanthropy for the next 10 years on the new medical center at the UCSF Mission Bay campus.Message from Marc Benioff
In business, we say that people overestimate what you can do in a year and underestimate what you can do in a decade. This is true in philanthropy as well.
It's this idea — one that we've seen proven at salesforce.com — that has inspired Lynne and me to transform how we approach our personal philanthropic giving. For the last two decades, we've been privileged to be involved in philanthropy, both personally and through the Salesforce.com Foundation. We've enjoyed the rewards of giving to a wide variety of causes around the world. We've met amazing philanthropists and social entrepreneurs, worked with a variety of organizations, and seen the difference philanthropy can make. We've also learned what giving back means to us.
Now, we're making our most significant philanthropic gift ever — and changing our focus for the next decade.
The Salesforce.com Foundation will continue to support local and global nonprofits with technology innovation and efficiencies, provide consistent volunteer support, and award grants to the most deserving organizations. However, Lynne and I will transform our own philanthropic efforts from supporting a wide variety of organizations to concentrating on just one. We will give exclusively to UCSF Children's Hospital, which has the research base for the next generation of discoveries, a commitment to advancing health worldwide, and a focus on every child, regardless of resources. This is where we believe our time and resources will make the most impact in the next decade and beyond.
Our initial $100 million dollar gift to UCSF Children's Hospital will help fund the construction of its new home at UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, UCSF's new children's, women's specialty, and cancer hospitals. Our goal is for the new institution, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, to serve as the most advanced children's hospital in the world, providing patient-centered care, supporting the translation of medical research into clinical practice, developing the next generation of medical technology, and training the caregivers of the future who will advance healthcare worldwide. There's a critical need for increased capacity of specialty children's hospital services in California and nationally, particularly for the poorest children. This gift will enable the first and only hospital helipad in the city and allow UCSF to expand its world-class capabilities to better serve children locally, nationally, and internationally.
We strongly believe in giving back to the San Francisco community that has given so much to us, and where the majority of the employees at salesforce.com live. Additionally, given the decline in personal philanthropic giving and reduced government funding, we recognize that we need to do more.
We chose to get involved with UCSF because its mission to advance health worldwide is aligned with ours. One of San Francisco's largest employers and a magnet that has attracted biotech companies to the city, UCSF is an important engine to our economy in addition to the advances in health care and services it provides our community. U.S. News & World Report named UCSF as one of the top-ranked facilities in California, and its children's hospital is among the best in the nation. Now led by new Chancellor Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the former president of Genentech, UCSF is well positioned to serve as one of the world's finest medical institutions.
As the largest public recipient of National Institutes of Health research funds, UCSF has become a powerhouse of research, generating patents and innovations that benefit patients worldwide and generating significant revenue to the university. For example, the hepatitis B vaccine developed at UCSF is the top-earning invention in the entire UC system. Advances like these have led to the creation of more than 66 biomedical companies. We're particularly inspired by the contributions UCSF has made in advancing children's health. Researchers and physicians at UCSF Children's Hospital discovered the cause of respiratory distress syndrome — the number one killer of premature babies — and developed therapies now used around the world to save thousands of lives every year. Among many firsts, they also pioneered cochlear implants for children, bringing hope to deaf children and adults; performed the first fetal surgical procedures; helped prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS from mother to baby; and introduced new therapies for childhood cancer.
We're excited about the unique opportunity to support UCSF's new Mission Bay development, a multi-billion dollar campus that is the nexus of UCSF's innovations in medical research and patient care. We're proud to have a strong existing relationship with this institution. Lynne is active on the UCSF Foundation's Board of Directors and we have previously supported various research projects and endowed four chairs in honor of world-class physicians, researchers, and teachers: Dr. James Ostroff (Gastroenterology), Dr. Robert Wachter (Hospital Medicine), Dr. Larry Rand (Maternal Fetal Medicine) and Dr. Louann Brizendine (Neuropsychiatry). Finally, UCSF's stellar management team including Chancellor Desmond-Hellmann, Medical School Dean Dr. Sam Hawgood and Medical Center CEO Mark Laret, has proven they can help us make UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital a worldwide leader.
With the exception of the work we do through the Salesforce.com Foundation, most of our giving has been anonymous. Lynne and I have made a strategic decision to make this gift public. We've seen how our 1-1-1 integrated corporate philanthropy model has influenced many companies, including Google, to build philanthropy into their day-to-day operations. We've also evangelized this model in three books — "Compassionate Capitalism, The Business of Changing The World, and Behind the Cloud" — and witnessed the power of sharing information as a way to involve others and magnify the difference we can make collectively. We hope that by sharing the impact of this gift, other entrepreneurs will be encouraged to make significant contributions to causes that are important to them. We've been inspired by our friends, Michael and Susan Dell, and Alan and Vivien Hassenfeld, who have demonstrated the importance of giving back during one's lifetime and who have shown us the way with Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas and Hasbro Children's Hospital.
We're honored to contribute $100 million dollars to UCSF to advance health care for the youngest patients in our community and worldwide. But we also understand this is just the beginning. UCSF still needs to raise a significant amount to fund the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, and we hope others will join us, now, and for the next ten years. A decade is enough time to make a magnitude of difference. Tremendous progress in children's health can be achieved by 2020 when we focus our energies, resources and passion on a singular cause.