Oakland, CA – The Dreamforce conference on Tuesday, September 25, was the place where Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell received remarkable news from technology giant, Salesforce and its philanthropic arm, Salesforce.org.
Marc Benioff, Salesforce founder and CEO, announced that this year Salesforce is giving Oakland Schools’ Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) $7 million. This marks the third year in a row that Salesforce has given support to the District, and each year the amount of financial support has grown.
“This new $7 million donation from Salesforce deepens our critical partnership, allowing us to transform our middle schools through innovative computer science and math instruction and expanding our support system for our newcomer students,” said Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “We thank Salesforce for their generous and dedicated support for our next generation of leaders in the technology industry and the world at large.”
In 2016, Salesforce donated $2.5 million to Oakland Unified School District, and last year, the company upped its donation to $5.2 million before raising the now annual gift to this year’s $7 million. The money has been critical for supporting computer science (CS) education across the District, where thousands of students now take CS classes when just a few years ago, such classes were almost non-existent. “We now have at least one computer science class in every middle school across the District. This enhanced focus on CS has enabled our young people to see a different future for themselves,” said Kennan Scott, OUSD Computer Science Manager. “The life path that some of them are following may have already shifted because of this important work and the support from Salesforce.”
$100,000-$200,000 of Principal’s Innovation Funds will go to each of the District’s middle school with no strings attached. Over the past two years, principals have put the money to work through innovative math programs, field trips, new technology, computer animation instruction and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) instruction.
“We’re proud to continue to partner with the school districts and local organizations to create change in the community and address the Bay Area’s most urgent causes,” said Rob Acker, CEO of Salesforce.org.
Newcomer students will also benefit greatly from the Salesforce investment. The money will be used to give academic and career development support and wraparound services to young people who are in unfamiliar surroundings after arriving here from other parts of the world. “Moving to a new country is challenging in the best of circumstances, and in some cases our newcomer students arrive in Oakland with no money and no family to help them,” said Nicole Knight, Executive Director of English Language Learner and Multilingual Achievement. “This funding will help us ensure these students have access to culturally sensitive mental health, health, legal and other social services so they can focus all their attention on getting their education.”
“Salesforce will change potentially thousands of lives with this investment,” said Superintendent Johnson-Trammell. “We can’t thank Marc Benioff and Salesforce enough for this partnership, and we look forward to continuing this work together for years to come.”