Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Dives Into New Cause: Healing the Oceans

The CEO is donating millions to a specific cause.
Since founding Salesforce in 1999, Marc Benioff has earned credibility as a serious philanthropist and, more recently, as a champion of gender equality and diversity.

“Just as we have research hospitals seeking cures for devastating illnesses, we need a hospital to heal our oceans,” said Marc Benioff, in a statement.

For example, the business software billionaire and his wife Lynne have donated more than $250 million to children’s hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2010. Now, the couple is turning their attention to the world’s oceans, starting with a $10 million “gift” backing a new research effort spearheaded by the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“Just as we have research hospitals seeking cures for devastating illnesses, we need a hospital to heal our oceans,” said Marc Benioff, in a statement.

The so-called Benioff Ocean Initiative came about after the Salesforce CEO contacted marine biologist Douglas McCauley via email after reading one of his research papers, offering to help him gather more data.

“He was clear in his sincerity,” McCauley tells Fortune, admitting that he’d hadn’t previously heard of Benioff. “That turned into a series of lunches and conversations, all of them close to the ocean, because he is often close to the ocean.”

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