Marc Benioff, billionaire founder of enterprise software behemoth Salesforce, and his wife Lynne are donating $30 million to the University of California, San Francisco to fund a new research initiative that will identify the root causes of, and find evidence-based solutions towards ending, homelessness.
The new program, called the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, will be part of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, a research center. The pledge to be paid out over five years, will create a resource for policy makers and community leaders around the country working to address homelessness.
“The world needs a North Star for truth on homelessness,” said Marc Benioff in a press release on Wednesday. “The UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative will be that North Star, providing the latest research, data and evidence-based solutions to ensure we’re investing in programs that will help solve the homelessness crisis.”
Via press release from UCSF:
The Benioffs’ gift is the largest-ever private donation to fund homelessness research. San Francisco, along with countless cities across the country, is experiencing a homelessness crisis.
According to the 2017 annual Homelessness Point-in-Time report, approximately 7,500 people are homeless in San Francisco, 58 percent of whom are unsheltered.
Rising housing costs and income inequality are leading to more people, including families and older adults, entering homelessness for the first time.
The Benioffs previously donated $200M to found two Bay Area children’s hospitals. Benioff earned national headlines last year when he backed a San Francisco ballot measure that would tax local corporations, including Salesforce, to fund homelessness services. He’s also an ardent LGBT ally and has been honored by GLAAD.