You don’t have to live in San Francisco or work in the tech sector to know about Dreamforce. Since its inception in 2003, the event has grown into a full blown juggernaut, spanning 4 days, hosting over 170,000 people from around the globe — including many world-class speakers — and somehow managing to outdo itself every year. Exactly how? If you thought last year’s U2 performance at Cow Hollow was impressive, this year doubled down on talent and brought both Lenny Kravitz and Alicia Keys to AT&T Park to perform on Tuesday night. Even then, that’s only half the story. In the wake of the devastating North Bay fires, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff has decided to leave the stage set up at concert gear in place for an additional two days so that yet another benefit concert could take place to raise funds for those affected by the disaster. Benioff is also among the big names who contributed funds to get the event off the ground in the first place.
This may seem like an extraordinarily generous act, but more than anything it exemplifies the company’s commitment to giving back to the community. Presently adopted by more than 700 companies — including heavyweights like Google — the 1-1-1 model of integrated corporate philanthropy was originally conceived by Salesforce. It works like this: companies contribute 1 percent of equity, 1 percent of employee hours and 1 percent of product back to the communities it serves. (Disclaimer: Several years ago I was volunteering at the SF-Marin Food Bank and met a group of Salesforce employees who took three (paid) hours off work to come lend a hand. They did this monthly, spoke highly of the program and shared the positive impact this kind of work had on their lives, too — employers, take note!) Salesforce believes that leveraging technology, people, and resources help improve communities around the world and it seems they’re onto something, after all, they are the world’s top cloud computing, customer relationship management platform.
On Tuesday night the energy was palpable at the Concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. From founding the world’s first fetal surgery program to bringing about North America's first cure of alpha thalassemia major, the hospital aims to help every child have the chance to shine. When there isn’t a treatment for a childhood illness, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals takes the lead in finding one, making it the top hospital for pediatric cancer in Northern California. And proceeds from the concert have been benefitting the hospitals for years. At the concert aforementioned Kravitz and Keys wowed the crowds, will.i.am and MC Hammer were in charge of hosting the after party at Pier 48, but I would be remiss to leave out another set of stars — the Trailhead Characters aka Salesforce mascots. Big up to Astro, SaaSy, Einstein and Codey for getting the party started. Can’t wait to see what next year brings.