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Business as a Platform for Change

Why Salesforce Introduced a New Model for Employee Giving and Volunteerism

Team members volunteering

Philanthropy is becoming a key pillar of business strategy.

Businesses are beginning to understand the power of giving at a fundamental level. Corporate philanthropy is non-negotiable, both as a business imperative and as a means to support our communities. Corporations and individuals alike have an opportunity to build a world that’s more equitable, and that starts with looking inward to identify what skill sets will provide the most impact.

A couple of years ago, we began rethinking our approach to giving back. Then, COVID-19 hit. As it was for so many other areas of our business, the pandemic proved a massive accelerator for our corporate giving strategy. We completely reimagined our employee giving and volunteering programs to be centered around Citizen Philanthropy, an approach to giving back that’s driven by the belief that individuals offering their time, talent, and resources can affect real change.

Philanthropy has been core to Salesforce’s identity since its inception. We’ve created a culture where employees know they aren’t just contributing to the bottom line — they’re also giving back to the community. Through Citizen Philanthropy, our employees are the driving force behind our effort to make a positive impact on the world around us, from taking advantage of volunteer time-off to employee-inspired giving to causes that are closest to them.

This Giving Tuesday, we’ve taken a look at the past year to reflect on how Salesforce employees — gave back in 2021 amid the pandemic. Many opted to engage in what we’re calling “high-impact opportunities,” such as mentoring and pro bono work, specifically in key areas of our philanthropic model including workforce development, community resilience, and education.

Here are five Trailblazers who exemplified the spirit of generosity, donating their time, skills, and most importantly, their heart to their communities. 

Laine Riley Prokay, a Lead Design Program Manager, worked closely with the Salesforce philanthropy team to create and refine a design thinking program for young people ages 12-18. With mentoring from Salesforce employees, program participants work in teams to develop ideas for mobile apps that solve community problems. Along the way, they learn UX/UI basics like storyboarding, sketching, and prototyping. Laine developed the curriculum, recruited and trained a fleet of volunteers from UX/UI teams to deliver it, and has hosted the program for several nonprofits and schools. 

Brisa Reyes, a Global Marketing Functional Strategy and Planning Manager, partnered with Purdue University on a career development partnership through the university’s Business Opportunity Program (BOP) to address inequality through community outreach. Brisa raised nearly $25,000 for mentoring, tech training and scholarships, for 200 students.

Yasmin Martin, a Technical Consultant, volunteered monthly at several schools to help girls across age groups learn the soft and technical skills to thrive in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and develop a successful career path in STEM. “Being a citizen philanthropist lets me inspire and be a role model for the next generation of females to pursue a career in STEM, all while helping to close the gender gap and lack of female representation,” said Martin.

Kieran Guckian, Director of Global Digital Enablement, was a community champion, volunteering with older people in his community every week for the past year. Through his work with Alone, he chats with these individuals weekly to ensure that they are safe and well in their homes. Additionally, he helped establish the UNHCR refugee reading programme as part of Dublin’s Citizen Philanthropy Council, where volunteers educate children through storytelling.

Ciarae Schumann, Director of Customer Success Group Enablement, has maintained a partnership with an educational charity in London, connecting hundreds of students with supplemental lessons, personal development resources, and access to industry contacts. “The best part is, the work is never complete, with an almost unlimited opportunity to have an impact in the lives of students attending school in underserved communities,” Schumann said.

These stories demonstrate how impactful Citizen Philanthropy can be. Mindful of what’s happening in the world and their communities, Salesforce Employees are stepping up to support the causes and organizations that resonate with them.

But this work does not stop with us. There is so much to do. This Giving Tuesday, we encourage corporations and individuals alike to harness their time, talent, and resources to give back to the causes closest to them. 

To learn more about Salesforce’s approach to giving back, go here.


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