JDRF is a  global organization working to research type 1 diabetes and improve the lives of those affected by leveraging the latest technology. Through the JDRF One Walk — the largest type 1 diabetes event in the world — JDRF volunteers and sponsors help raise money to fund research for a cure. Salesforce President and CFO Mark Hawkins will be chairing the event on October 22. Below, he and DocuSign CEO Dan Springer discuss philanthropy within the tech industry, and how companies like Salesforce and DocuSign are working to help further the JDRF mission. 

Dan: Mark, how did you come to be involved with the JDRF One Walk?

Mark: Salesforce’s integrated philanthropy is based on a simple idea: leveraging Salesforce’s technology, people, and resources to help improve communities around the world. JDRF is based on a similar idea: driving the latest technology, supporting innovative people, and leveraging resources to help improve the lives of millions of people affected by T1D.

More than 1.25 million Americans live with T1D, and the numbers are rising. T1D can occur at any age, with the fastest growing age group affected being those that are newborn to age 5. There is no way to prevent it, and at present, no cure. That is why JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.

While Type 1 diabetes has impacted neither my wife Laura nor my immediate or extended families, it has and is impacting our community. Hence, we felt we needed to get involved and help so many like us who are committed to help JDRF in its mission to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

Dan:  How did you learn about T1D?

Mark: So when I was first asked to be the chair for the San Francisco JDRF One Walk, I realized I wanted to personally learn more about T1D (Type 1 Diabetes). I told Marc Benioff I wanted to learn more, and he kindly got me connected with the UCSF Juvenile Diabetes center. A number of my Salesforce colleagues joined me to visit UCSF and learn more first hand. We learned a lot and were so impressed with the amazing things UCSF is doing for the children and their families who live with Type 1 diabetes.

At Salesforce, we talk about the ohana or “family” and our intention to live a life of aloha. The real meaning of Aloha in Hawaiian is that of Love, Peace, and Compassion. It’s a guide for how to live. The stories of the children that I met and the families that I talked to have inspired me and shown me the true meaning of aloha. It has been such a rewarding experience to be involved.

Dan:  That’s incredible, Mark.  And so what has been the response since you became the Chair for this year’s JDRF One Walk in San Francisco?

Mark: Once it was announced that I would take on being the Chair for the walk, I was so touched by the number of colleagues at Salesforce who reached out to thank me for getting involved and helping in this way. Their stories were truly moving and inspiring.

As I begin to reach out to the business community to ask if they would join in, I was further inspired by their response. For example, I mentioned to you, Dan, that I was this year’s Chair for the JDRF One Walk and that we at Salesforce were really excited to get involved to help the community in this way. Without hesitating, you offered to match my own donation to the walk, which was simply awesome.

I told Marc Benioff about your generosity. He was impressed and said he would also match my personal donation. Hence, we got a 3x match on this which is a great example of the kindness and leadership in the community re: helping others who are living with Type 1 diabetes.

Dan: As you know, I am so happy to personally support this important cause as well as to have DocuSign to participate as well.  So, what goals have you set for the walk?

Mark: I am so glad you asked, Dan. We are truly part of a massive mobilization of people supporting the JDRF to create a world without Type 1 Diabetes. Last year, JDRF One Walks across the country had tens of thousands of participants who raised nearly $70 million to support life-changing type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, including $1.8 million raised here in the Greater Bay Area. We at Salesforce have a grass roots $250K stretch goal alone to achieve in support of this great cause and are excited to see so many other companies like DocuSign step forward as well.

Dan: That is a lot of people and funding for life-saving research, which is great to see. So, the walk is coming up on Sunday, October 22. Is there still time to support your efforts?

Mark: Absolutely! You can go to our team page to join my team and help make the dream of a world without type 1 diabetes a reality.

Dan: Great! We at DocuSign are honored to be a part of the ohana and to help those impacted by T1D.

Mark: Dan, thanks again to you and to DocuSign for your support. We are going to have an amazing walk, and I look forward to seeing all of you there!