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How Salesforce’s 1-1-1 Model Supports The Hidden Genius Project

By Brenda Martinez February 24, 2023

At Salesforce, we are proud to partner with Black-led nonprofits to advance their missions. One of these incredible organizations is The Hidden Genius Project, which ​​trains and mentors Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities. 

Over the past several years, Salesforce has built a partnership with The Hidden Genius Project, leveraging our 1-1-1 model through philanthropic support, employee volunteering, and product donations. 

“We are always looking for opportunities to partner with people and companies like Salesforce to create transformative experiences for our Geniuses,” said Denzel Russell, Communications Manager at The Hidden Genius Project. “Whether it’s your time, skills, technology, or monetary donations, this type of partnership allows us to help more young people reveal their true potential and open more doors for them.” 

Salesforce Catalyst Fund Provides Philanthropic Support

Recently, we welcomed The Hidden Genius Project into our grantee community as part of the Salesforce Catalyst Fund, which provides critical, unrestricted capital to nonprofits led by underrepresented leaders. To date, this portfolio has dedicated $4M across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia to organizations addressing inequities in education, economic opportunity, and racial justice.

These unrestricted grants provide organizations with the funds to scale their mission and expand programs like The Hidden Genius Project’s 15-month-long Intensive Immersion Program, which engages high school-aged Black male students by providing them with the mentorship and hands-on experiential learning opportunities that teach them skills in computer science, software development, entrepreneurship, and leadership. 

Salesforce Employees Volunteer to Support Geniuses

Throughout the years, Salesforce employees have volunteered over 1K hours to The Hidden Genius Project. Each summer, employees host students in our offices, allowing them to learn about careers in tech, network with employees, and get valuable feedback as they develop and practice business pitches for their entrepreneurial ideas. Our employees also lend their skills through pro-bono volunteering. For example, Salesforce marketers helped design the organization’s marketing and engagement strategy for its alumni entrepreneurship program.

I’ve personally had the opportunity to volunteer with The Hidden Genius Project on Interview Day, where students interested in participating in the Intensive Immersion Program are assessed. After interviewing over 50 students throughout the years, I’ve seen many go through the program and be transformed into confident young men fully prepared to attend college, launch their own businesses, or pursue a career in tech.

Volunteering at The Hidden Genius Project’s Brothers Code event during Computer Science Education Week.

Leveraging Salesforce Technology to Advance Their Mission

As a customer of Salesforce, The Hidden Genius Projects leverages our platform to manage the day-to-day activities of their students and families in the program and to support fundraising efforts, including tracking and engaging donors. Using Salesforce has allowed them to build better relationships with their key stakeholders.

When Geniuses visit Salesforce over the summer, they are exposed to Trailhead, our free online learning platform. With the help of volunteers, some of the Geniuses have earned their first Trailhead badges and gained an interest toward pursuing Salesforce certification.

How to Support The Hidden Genius Project

We look forward to continuing our partnership with The Hidden Genius Project and invite others to get involved. “We encourage everyone in our communities, both near and far, to invest in our youth and mission at The Hidden Genius Project,” said Russell.

A group of Salesforce volunteers and geniuses posing for a group photo
Salesforce volunteers host Geniuses at Salesforce as part of the Intensive Immersion Program.
To learn more about how to get involved, make sure to visit the Hidden Genius Project website. Additionally, you can check out the conversation between Dr. Brandon Nicholson, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of The Hidden Genius Project; Dr. Ron C. Smith, Ed.D., Vice President of Philanthropy, Salesforce; and Michael Rivo, Executive Producer and Host of Salesforce’s Blazing Trails podcast.