Nonprofit Rejects Hefty Salesforce Donation Over Border Contract

With RAICES' rejection of $250,000 donation, Salesforce faces mounting pressure to cut ties with Customs and Border Protection.

Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

In offering a $250,000 donation to an immigration nonprofit, Salesforce could have had a favorable PR moment.

If only it weren’t for that pesky contract with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that employees and human rights groups are pressuring a resistant Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to cancel. 

The Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), which assists detained immigrants and their families, on Monday declined Salesforce’s offer over its ties to the agency that does the detaining. In an email reviewed by Business Insider, Executive Director Jonathan Ryan said the Texas nonprofit wouldn’t accept the money until Benioff agrees to “cancel all direct or indirect contracts” with CBP.

“When it comes to supporting oppressive, inhumane, and illegal policies, we want to be clear: the only right action is to stop,” Ryan wrote.

RAICES took a bold stand against taking money that indirectly comes from an agency with opposing goals, but it could very much afford to. A Bay Area couple raised more than $20 million for the nonprofit as the Trump administration’s policy to separate children from family members at the border reached a fever pitch.

Before the fundraiser went viral, RAICES had an annual operating budget of $500,000, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

The optics of providing CBP with Salesforce software conflicts with the philanthropic image of the company and Benioff donating millions of dollars to charities, many of which battle homelessness and support education in the Bay Area.

At the Salesforce Tower Grand Opening in May, Benioff took that benevolent image to another level by saying he wants the building to represent justice and a reminder that San Francisco is one “ohana.” Critics of the CPB contract would hardly find being connected to an agency that tore thousands of children away from their families to represent either.

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