Why a Nonprofit That Helps Separated Migrant Families Turned Down a $250,000 Donation From Salesforce

July 20, 2018, 9:00 AM UTC

RAICES, the Texas-based nonprofit that has raised millions to help reunite migrant families detained at the border, has been the recipient of donations from big names like Mark Zuckerberg and Jimmy Fallon.

But it appears there’s at least one group that RAICES will not be accepting help from: Salesforce (CRM).

Like Microsoft employees, hundreds of Salesforce employees signed a letter in late June calling on CEO Marc Benioff to cut ties with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), due to its role in the ‘zero tolerance’ policy that has led to the detention of hundreds of migrant families at the border.

But Benioff denied that Salesforce contracts with CBP were related to CBP’s immigration policies and declined to terminate the contract. Noting that Salesforce stands “against forcibly separating children from their parents,” the company said that it “is not working with CBP regarding the separation of families at the border” and was not “aware of any Salesforce services being used by CBP for this purpose.”

Salesforce also announced that it would donate $1 million to organizations working to reunite separated families, reflecting its commitment to its “core values.”

One of the planned recipients of the donation? RAICES.

In a letter since made public, executive director of RAICES Jonathan Ryan refused Salesforce’s offer. He wrote that the organization would not accept the $250,000 donation unless Salesforce terminated its contract with CBP. But Salesforce refused to comply, so RAICES turned down the donation.

“When it comes to supporting oppressive, inhumane, and illegal policies, we want to be clear: the only right action is to stop,” Ryan wrote. “Pledging us a small portion of the money you make from CPB contracts will not distract us from your continuing support of this agency. We will not be a beneficiary of your effort to buy your way out of ethical responsibility.”

Salesforce has not indicated a willingness to review its existing contract with CBP, but it has come under additional pressure from a number of customers, including Greenpeace International, Manhattan Young Democrats, and New York State Nurses Association, who have called on the company to cut ties with CBP. Salesforce has also seen a series of protests around its San Francisco headquarters.

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