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Marc Benioff, CEO, makes philanthropy a priority

San Francisco Chronicle, July 26, 2011

One day in the fall of 2009, Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff met with a fellow billionaire in hopes of closing a deal. Benioff, a consummate salesman since his days under Larry Ellison at Oracle, traveled to the Rosewood Hotel in Menlo Park to sell not his product but an idea: that his counterpart, a retired entrepreneur who had billions of dollars at his disposal, should make a major donation to UCSF. The university was in the planning stages of a $1.5 billion medical center in Mission Bay with new sites for women, children and cancer patients. Benioff and his wife, Lynne, planned to donate $20 million anonymously to the hospital; their daughter was born at UCSF in 2008 after a complicated pregnancy. Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center, had enlisted Benioff to attend a few meetings with him to recruit other philanthropists to make even larger gifts.