Salesforce.com is donating $5 million to public schools in San Francisco for computer science education.
Alongside the $5 million donation, the company is also volunteering 5,000 employee hours for the school year, as well as another $1 million in donations to Code.org in an effort to advance the teaching of computer science both locally and on a national level.
“We’re really doubling down on what we learned in our first year of creating digital classrooms, and we’re really focusing on computer science,” said Salesforce.com Foundation President Suzanne DiBianca.
The company donated $2.7 million to area schools last year for the Middle Grades Leadership Initiative and donated 1,500 hours of employee volunteer hours.
Of that donation, $1.2 million went to the Principal’s Innovation Fund, which offered $100,000 in grants to principals of multiple schools. The amount for this year has increased to $2 million, and K-8 schools have been added to the pool of schools that will benefit.
“It’s awesome. We were able to do some things that could be really transformative,” said Carline Sinkler, the principal of Herbert Hoover Middle School, a campus with 1,000 students in the West of Twin Peaks neighborhood.
Sinkler put the funds toward improving classrooms, purchasing computers, and also creating a STEAM room which will go towards learning in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Students will spend six weeks on a variety of computer-related tasks, and then create physical models of their designs, which they will present to engineers for AutoDesk, a company that donates computer-modeling software to schools.
“It’s definitely made a huge difference in the learning environment at this school,” said Sinkler.
Last year, donated money that did not go toward the Principal’s Fund went to creating 31 digital classrooms equipped with Wi-Fi for 12 middle schools; 1,500 iPads for students in math and science classes; and a full-time technology instructor to help teachers implement the new technology available for students.
The additional donations this year will expand on these efforts to reach twice the amount of students, with $3 million going toward new technology endeavors.
“Every eighth grader in San Francisco will graduate this year with 100 hours of code under their belt,” DiBianca said.
CEO Marc Benioff, Mayor Ed Lee, and San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza will formally announce the donation at a Rincon Center event. The event will also serve as a chance for Salesforce.com employees to donate their hours and complete tasks at local schools, or sign up to fill 2,000 backpacks with school supplies to be donated to 20 area schools.
“This event is largely for our employees. We really want them to know this is the go-to project for them at headquarters,” said DiBianca.
Salesforce.com is one of the largest tech companies in San Francisco, itself a hub for such organizations.