Salesforce Breaks the Mold by Appointing a Chief Philanthropy Officer
Salesforce, the American cloud computing company, has continually pushed the envelope of what it means for a corporation to be involved in the community. They are the initiators of Pledge 1%, an international corporate charitable giving initiative by which members pledge to donate a minimum of 1% of their profits, product or time. So far, 38 countries and more than 1,300 companies are participating.
Changing the Corporate Philanthropy Paradigm
Suzanne DiBianca, co-founder and former President of Salesforce Foundation, who helped to launch the 1% Initiative, is on a mission to change all of this. Last April, she was appointed chief philanthropy officer and executive vice president of corporate relations for Salesforce which provides her with the perfect platform to lead Salesforce into the next dimension of corporate responsibility.
DiBianca says the goal of Salesforce is to integrate philanthropic giving into the corporation’s activities regardless of performance or the state of the economy. She is a pioneer of the concept of “integrated philanthropy” which means that a company’s philanthropy is aligned with its core strengths and competencies. In other words, it is not just about giving money, but recognizing that a company’s products, time, and technologies are equally important. Salesforce initiated the 1-1-1 model whereby it gives away 1% of its time, 1% of its product and 1% of its profit.
Over the past 15 years, Salesforce has built up an enormous philanthropic apparatus, making donations of $137 million to the company’s two core project areas and providing discounted or free services to more than 30,000 education and nonprofit institutions. Among its recipients are Genesys Works and YearUp, two nonprofits focused on professional training as a means of socio-economic empowerment, and CoderDojo and Black Girls Code, education enrichment organizations.
Salesforce’s work with YearUp, goes way beyond funding, the company also hires more than 100 of the program’s participants each year. Ultimately around 70% of the YearUp recruits become full-time employees. In addition, Salesforce employees have donated more than 1.8 million volunteer hours doing everything from building health clinics and schools to coaching little league baseball teams.
A Chief Philanthropy Officer Empowers Philanthropy
When a company appoints a chief philanthropy officer, philanthropy ceases to be an adjunct to its business mission and instead becomes an integral part of the corporate strategic plan. A truly radical reconstruction of the corporate responsibility model can transpire, a model in which corporate giving becomes an organic component on the same level as product development, sales, and human resources.