San Francisco billionaire donates $30 million to homelessness research

San Francisco billionaire donates $30 million to homelessness research
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A San Francisco billionaire announced Wednesday that he is donating $30 million to fund homelessness research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, are funding a five-year initiative to "provide research, data and evidence-based solutions to help cities invest in the most effective programs to prevent and end homelessness," according to a statement from the cloud-based software company.

The $30 million contribution is the largest-ever private donation to fund homelessness research, according to Salesforce.

The UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative will be led by Dr. Margot Kushel as part of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations.


"The world needs a North Star for truth on homelessness," Benioff said. "The UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative will be that North Star, providing the latest research, data and evidence-based solutions to ensure we’re investing in programs that will help solve the homelessness crisis."

California’s nine-county Bay Area has roughly 28,200 people experiencing homelessness, ranking it third nationally after New York and Los Angeles, according to a report released by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute last month.

"Despite a growing economy and low unemployment, homelessness in the Bay Area grew at an annualized average of 2 percent between 2011 and 2017," according to the report. "The growth of homelessness during an economic expansion is attributable to the region’s inability to build homes at a rate appropriate for its job and population growth."

Housing costs have skyrocketed in the city, where the median price of a two-bedroom home is $1.3 million, according to The Associated Press. A family of four earning $117,400 a year is considered low-income. 

Benioff, a San Francisco native, and his wife have now pledged $66 million to combat and prevent homelessness in the area, according to SalesForce.

The tech CEO was a major supporter of Proposition C, an initiative that increases corporate taxes for companies based in San Francisco and puts that money toward tackling homelessness.

The ballot measure, which was passed by voters in November, is expected to contribute an extra $300 million toward helping the city's the homeless population.

Benioff publicly feuded with Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who donated money to the campaign against the measure.