K-12 Dealmaking: Salesforce.com Invests $5M in San Francisco Schools

By guest blogger Kevin Connors

For one community-savvy tech company, the word “investment” holds multiple meanings.


Salesforce.com, a widely recognized provider of customer-relationship management  software, has not only invested in the quality of its product over the years, but the tech giant has also invested in its community and local schools. To that end, the Salesforce.com Foundation recently announced a $5 million donation to the San Francisco Unified School District to increase resources for science, technology, engineering, and math, or “STEM,” education.

In addition to the $5 million, the company’s employees will also volunteer 5,000 hours during the 2014-15 school year, and Salesforce will donate $1 million to Code.org, a national organization that aims to provide better access to computer-science education in schools across the country.

The partnership between the San Francisco-based tech company and the public schools is actually a continuation of an initiative started last year, where Salesforce donated $2.7 million to the city’s middle schools to provide students better access to Wi-Fi, tablets, and other STEM resources.

According to a statement from Salesforce.com, that initial $2.7 million gift in 2013 specifically provided:

  • 31 Wi-Fi enabled digital classrooms across 12 middle schools;
  • 1,500 iPads used by 2,100 San Francisco middle school students in math and science classes;
  • 1,500 volunteer hours in the classroom from Salesforce.com employees; and
  • A full-time technology instructor to assist teachers with implementation

With this year’s $5 million investment, the schools intend to:

  • Expand to 48 Wi-Fi enabled digital classrooms across 12 middle schools and eight K-8 schools;
  • Distribute 1,200 additional iPads and 800 Google Chromebooks for use in math and science classes; and
  • Provide four full-time technology instructors across 20 schools to assist teachers

The San Francisco schools’ superintendent, Richard A. Carranza, hailed the partnership, saying that it plays a critical role in the district’s mission to provide a “21st century educational experience.”

For Salesforce, meanwhile, there is also an added benefit to this investment: positive community relations. In a time when some other tech giants have received some flak for driving up living costs in San Francisco, Salesforce has been highly visible in its efforts to give back.

It is not just Salesforce, however, that is vying for San Francisco’s heart: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also donated $120 million to San Francisco area schools earlier this year. His donation will focus on principal training, helping students transition to high school, and—perhaps not surprisingly—classroom technology.

For more news on mergers, acquisitions, and venture capital in education, follow Marketplace K-12’s “K-12 Dealmaking” series.  


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