San Francisco-based Salesforce has announced a $20 million commitment to five public school districts across the country in support of efforts to advance racial equity and close a digital divide that has widened as a result of COVID-19.
Grants include $9 million to the San Francisco Unified School District to reimagine schooling during the pandemic and build on existing programs to improve student outcomes and opportunities, and $9 million to the Oakland Unified School District to help middle school students and educators get through the pandemic, with a focus on unaccompanied immigrant youth, refugees, and asylum seekers. Other recipients include Indianapolis Public Schools, which was awarded $500,000 in support of professional development efforts, including racial equity training, for educators in the district; the New York City Department of Education, which was awarded $500,000 to expand and accelerate its efforts to create a more equitable system; Chicago Public Schools, which was awarded $500,000 to train the next generation of school leaders and provide STEM-related early college and career experiences for students in underserved communities; and the Courageous Conversation Global Foundation, which will receive $500,000 to promote racial justice and interracial understanding within the five districts.
In addition to the grants, the company committed $100,000 each to COVID-19 relief funds set up by the Chicago and Indianapolis public school systems and announced the release of Work.com for Schools, which is designed to help schools make data-driven decisions with respect to when and how to return to campus safely, facilitate communication between teachers and families, and provide tools that assist students remotely.
"Schools are the backbone of our communities — the heart and soul of our neighborhoods. We need to ensure that every student has access to the best education regardless of circumstance," said Salesforce chief philanthropy officer Ebony Beckwith. "As we reimagine education for a learn-anywhere world, we are committed to helping our schools reopen safely, teach from anywhere, and create a more equitable future for every student."