UCSF Children's Hospital has announced a five-year, $100 million gift from Salesforce.com founder, chairman, and CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, to support construction of a new hospital. In recognition of the gift, the hospital will be renamed the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.
With the gift, the largest ever to UCSF Children's, the UCSF Medical Center has received $320 million toward its $600 million capital campaign, which will support construction of a 289-bed, $1.5 billion children's, women's, and cancer hospital complex in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco. Expected to be completed in 2014, the 184-bed children's hospital will offer research facilities, a pediatric emergency room, a schoolroom where young patients can study, and space for parents to stay overnight with their children, the Wall Street Journal reports. By combining research and care under one roof, the university hopes to be able to better translate medical breakthroughs into practice on patients, said UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret.
Benioff told the Journal that the gift represents a major shift in his approach to philanthropy. Over the next decade, he will focus his donations exclusively on the children's hospital, after years of giving much smaller amounts to a host of different organizations. For the past ten years, Benioff, whose net worth is around $1.3 billion, and his wife, a former public-relations manager who sits on the board of the UCSF Foundation, have awarded more than $20 million to charitable causes, most of it anonymously. Benioff also is the founder of the Salesforce.com Foundation, which will continue to contribute 1 percent of its parent company's profits, 1 percent of equity, and 1 percent of employee hours within the communities the company serves.
Initially, Benioff agreed to give $20 million anonymously to support the children's hospital, but he warmed to the idea of giving a more significant amount after speaking to Laret and wealthy friends, including computer billionaire Michael Dell and former Wall Street trader Michael Milken, who give to children's medical causes. "I had never really thought about doing a $100 million gift. That was significantly more than anything we'd done before," Benioff said. "We strongly believe in giving back to the San Francisco community that has given so much to us, and where the majority of the employees at Salesforce.com live. Additionally, given the decline in personal philanthropic giving and reduced government funding, we recognize that we need to do more."