Corporate Philanthrophy

The Folsom Street Festival, Oracle Conference, Castro Street Fair Festival and Salesforce “Dreamforce” conference take place each on a different week in SF to not overlap on competing interests, traffic and hotels. It brings a different level of diversity to SF each week. I participated as an HIV test counselor in the Folsom and Castro street festivals. In a previous life, I may have participated in the Oracle and Salesforce conference. Each event closes several blocks of city traffic, except Oracle and Salesforce also take over the Moscone Convention Center, closing bike lanes as well. My bike route is rerouted and I look like I am playing a game of Frogger, leaping in and out of traffic between 3rd and 5th streets. I was irked when I saw the blocked street on my bike route with the logo Dreamforce. They borrowed the image/logo of the National Parks and made it into Dreamforce. It’s the same logo you see at the entrance of each national park.

Salesforce this week, teamed with U2’s Bono’s (RED) Foundation, supporting HIV/AIDS communities. Bono was the charity concert for their conference. Dreamforce raised over $4 million dollars to (RED). The Benioffs (founders of Salesforce), went $1 for $1 match to each donation. Bill and Melinda Gates’s Foundation, donated a 2:1 double match. Additionally $11 million was raised for UCSF Benioff Children’s hospital. Salesforce does a 1-1-1 model, or donating 1% company equity, 1% of product and 1% of employee hours back to the communities it serves globally. Their conference this week was filled with sessions of #pledgeitforward, compassion, onsite volunteering, sustainability and global health, etc. I am conflicted by this corporate philanthropy. Tech brings an incredible amount of wealth to the city and as a result, many organizations/institutions benefit, including the work I am involved with as a HIV test counselor but it brings many other issues, including the housing crisis, restaurants that sell $4 pieces of toast and entitlement and privilege on a scale unknown. I feel like I am indirectly involved with corporate philanthropy, even though I am part time. I observe meetings that involve strategies on increasing volunteer engagement to ultimately become more purpose/mission driven, effecting the bottom line.

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