Salesforce Announces New Education Grants, Celebrates Bay Area Educators

By Salesforce.org | September 17, 2019 | Education, K-12 Education & Youth Development, Volunteering

Last week, Salesforce announced $18.2 million in new grants to San Francisco and Oakland school districts and nonprofits to help Bay Area students, teachers, and schools reach their highest potential. To celebrate, Salesforce hosted a student fair onsite at Presidio Middle School in San Francisco.

Not your average school day

To celebrate the students, the fair featured STEM-based and virtual reality (VR) activities including a VR game, navigating a remote-controlled ball through a maze via mobile app, a LEGO city-building setup, and a build-your-own battle robot station. Students also had an opportunity to enjoy traditional fair activities such as face painting and cornhole. As a DJ filled the air with pop music, attendees gave back by packing teacher appreciation kits to be distributed to local educators.

Salesforce volunteers get ready to help event attendees build teacher appreciation kits at Presidio Middle School
Photo of Presidio Middle School students Presidio Middle School students enjoy the Trailhead-themed photo opportunity at the student fair.

Also, in attendance were community members, nonprofit partners, and elected officials to show their support of local schools and educators. Many Salesforce volunteers — 130 of them — were lending a hand at the event. Through our Circle the Schools program, employees participate in volunteer activities designed to advance student skills, including literacy in elementary schools, STEM in middle schools, and college and career readiness in high schools. To date, employees have adopted 34 schools in San Francisco, Oakland, and more than 100 schools globally.

Salesforce volunteers get ready to help event attendees build teacher appreciation kits at Presidio Middle School
Salesforce volunteers at Presidio Middle School preparing to build teacher appreciation kits.
Salesforce volunteers get ready to help event attendees build teacher appreciation kits at Presidio Middle School

Every business can be a platform for change

An afternoon press conference on the grant and recipients featured speakers Marc Benioff, Salesforce Chairman and Co-CEO; San Francisco Mayor London Breed; Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf; Presidio Middle School Principal Emma Dunbar; San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews; Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell; and Salesforce EVP & Chief Philanthropy Officer Ebony Beckwith.

The new grants to San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) build upon long-term partnerships to improve student outcomes and opportunities. The grants support computer science curriculum expansion and innovative math programs as well as teacher recruitment, retention, and training.

Salesforce's Marc Benioff thanks principals and educators for their work and encourages everyone to get involved with their local schools
Marc Benioff speaks at a press conference at Presidio Middle School, thanking educators around the Bay Area Salesforce’s Marc Benioff thanks principals and educators for their work and encourages everyone to get involved with their local schools

In his remarks, Benioff encouraged other companies and businesses to take an active part in giving back to their local communities. “At Salesforce we believe that we’re here for all of our stakeholders, not just our shareholders. We’re here to serve our communities and our public schools. We’re here to serve everyone who’s a part of San Francisco and Oakland or anywhere we’re doing business. We’re thinking about the bigger picture. That’s how we guide our company’s management and leadership; that’s our mission,” he said. “Every CEO can adopt a public school. Every company can adopt a district. Every one of us can do something.

“It’s not just about providing a resource, but making sure we’re all doing our part to give back,” said Breed. “Salesforce has been at the forefront of investing in their community and holding people accountable.” Schaff added, “I challenge every company to do what Salesforce does and put your money where your heart is and invest in our schools.”

In addition to supporting SFUSD and OUSD, Salesforce also provides grants to education nonprofits to expand their support of district educators and students. Recipients of the grant include school improvement and accountability system CORE Districts, and Blueprint Schools Network, which will expand the implementation of its Math Fellows Program.

Watch the event highlights below:

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