Marc Benioff wants tech entrepreneurs to give back. In an interview with Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky at the Launch Festival in San Francisco, he talked about how philanthropy impacts everything he does in life and in work.
He talked about working for Larry Ellison at Oracle from 1986 to 1999:
“We had this really great experience. But over and over and over again, I would just get this really empty feeling at Oracle. We’d have these great products, we’d close all these deals, our stock was rocketing, everybody’s making money, but I was kinda like ‘I think a company can be more than this. And I want a better kind of vibration in the company. I want a better energy. I want to have a feeling that when I walk into the company, I want everyone to go ‘Wow, there’s an unbelievable energy here. There’s a great feeling here in this company.'”
Even after convincing Ellison to create a charitable foundation, Benioff felt unfulfilled:
“The thing that was interesting was, I was interested in it, I was excited about it, but nobody else was. I give Larry a lot of credit for saying ‘here, here’s the resource’, but he didn’t give me the culture.”
Benioff has stayed committed to the cause. Today, all Salesforce employees are required to go out and volunteer on their first day of work and get 4 paid hours off a month to volunteer outside of work. He has also pledged Salesforce to donate 1% of its profits (in the form of product donations) and 1% of its equity to non-profits.
In addition, he mentioned that he is currently supporting an initiative that would partner a tech company with one of San Francisco’s 125 public schools.
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