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March 07, 2014

Web Mogul Benioff Urges Tech Firms to Step Up S.F. Giving

Internet billionaire Marc Benioff is calling on technology peers to contribute a collective $10-million for Bay Area anti-poverty programs in what the San Francisco Chronicle calls the start of a larger, concerted challenge to engage the industry in regional philanthropy.

The SF Gives effort, a partnership between Mr. Benioff's Salesforce.com and San Francisco charity Tipping Point, is seeking $500,000 pledges from 20 technology firms and already has commitments from Google, LinkedIn, Zynga, and other  players. Mr. Benioff said he hopes eventually to expand the program to $100-million. Tipping Point founder Daniel Lurie said SF Gives represents "a cultural shift" in the industry.

Mr. Benioff, a San Francisco native, has spearheaded efforts to get tech companies to step up local giving as their high-paid employees move into the city, driving up housing costs and generating public and political pressure on firms to take a more active civic role. "We don't want to be the industry that looks like 'The Wolf of Wall Street,'" he told the Chronicle. "We want to be more benevolent."