Benioff will receive the Ric Weiland Award, which honors innovators who advance LGBT equality and acceptance through tech and new media.
The award is named after Ric Weiland, who was a computer software pioneer and philanthropist. Together with his surviving partner Mike Schaefer, Weiland is known for his dedication to LGBT and HIV and AIDS organizations. Recode executive editor Kara Swisher will present Benioff with the award.
The gala event in November will feature a special performance by recording artist Halsey and will be hosted by talk show host, actress, comedian, author, producer, writer, and director Aisha Tyler.
A pioneer of cloud computing, Benioff founded Salesforce in 1999 with a vision to create a new kind of enterprise software company, with a technology model based in the cloud, a pay-as-you-go business model and an integrated corporate philanthropy model. Under his leadership, Salesforce has grown from a groundbreaking idea into a Fortune 500 company, the fastest-growing top ten software company and the world’s largest customer relationship management company.
Benioff is raising the stakes in the fight for LGBT equality, taking a highly visible stand on behalf of Salesforce employees across the U.S. against discriminatory laws targeting LGBT people. In 2015, Benioff made international headlines as one of the first business leaders to speak out against a law in Indiana that would have allowed businesses to deny services to LGBT people. After Benioff and other business leaders vowed to reduce business investment in Indiana due to the discriminatory legislation, the law was amended to explicitly prohibit businesses from turning away LGBT people.
“Marc Benioff is an innovator not just in technology and business, but also in his advocacy to advance acceptance for the LGBT community,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO. “He is at the forefront of the corporate movement to stop discriminatory anti-LGBT bills across the country and his commitment to fairness and equality is steadfast.”
GLAAD Gala San Francisco honors innovators in the Bay Area who advance LGBT acceptance through tech and new media and also funds GLAAD’s advocacy work to rewrite the script to accelerate acceptance.