View Full Version : All SF Tech Titan Marc Benioff's high-grade gift to S.F. middle schools

10-07-2013, 09:05 AM
From S.F. Gate (http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Tech-titan-s-high-grade-gift-to-S-F-middle-4874292.php) by Jill Tucker:

Some months ago, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and schools Superintendent Richard Carranza met with Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff to ask the tech titan for some financial support to boost access to technology in the city's 12 middle schools.

It was a gutsy plea - enough to buy hundreds of iPads, provide wireless access in classrooms, and leave enough extra to train teachers to use all of it well.

But Benioff was frustrated by the size of the request.

"You have to think bigger," the CEO told them.

Instead, let's start with $100,000 for each middle school principal to spend - an "innovation grant" to pay for what is needed most at each school, Benioff told them.

And, by the way, yes to the iPads and the rest, too, he added.

The three city-school-tech leaders are scheduled Monday to announce the $2.7 million donation, the largest single-year business investment in the district's history.

But Benioff isn't done.

He asked the mayor, who has made the city's middle schools his top education priority, what else he wanted for the 12 sites.

Lee didn't have an immediate answer.

"You don't ever get to do what you really want to do," Lee told The Chronicle.

Offer open for a year

With pen poised above a checkbook, Benioff told Lee he had a year to figure it out and come back for more.

"We wanted to make this bigger," Benioff said. "The city and school district weren't ready for us to do more."

How much more?

"We're loaded with money," he said and the mayor's focus on preparing middle-school students for the future workforce is a perfect match for the tech company's philanthropic foundation.

"Why shouldn't San Francisco have the best 12 middle schools in the country?" Benioff said. "What is preventing that? We are their partner in this."

The school district and mayor's office are already planning, working with the schools, parents, teachers and others to think big.

"I know that I don't want to take his money and waste it," Lee said. "You want to make sure it has the kind of impact it deserves.

"Mayors just dream of these opportunities."

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