Corporate Philanthropy: Earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for the Dreamforce conference from It was an amazing conference on many levels. There were over 100,000 attendees, thousands of technical and business sessions, even a free concert from GreenDay and Blondie.

What really impressed me, however, was the 1/1/1 philanthropy model of the Foundation:

  • 1% of employee time is donated to charitable efforts
  • 1% of the company’s equity is donated to charitable efforts
  • 1% of product resources is donated to charitable efforts

This approach allows the company to provide important relief in a major way, such as the effort to help Haiti following the devastating earthquake suffered by that country in 2010.

The above video was presented during the keynote session for the conference. Trust me, I’ve been to lots of these technical conferences before. The opening session or keynote usually goes something like this: “Thanks for buying our stuff. Here’s a bunch of new things we’re going to come out with. Please buy more of our stuff.”

This is why I was somewhat shocked to watch Marc Benioff, the CEO of, spend nearly 40 minutes of the two hour session talking about philanthropy. Not just touting what his own company has done, but also encouraging the attending companies and individuals to do more.

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