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Salesforce App Cloud Brightens the Future of Monumental Public Art in the Bay Area

By January 7, 2016

“Salesforce and Heroku have enabled us to build a robust donor engagement system that we can use to create ongoing relationships — an extremely valuable asset for an arts organization.” – Ben Davis, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, ILLUMINATE

The Situation

From 2013-2015, The Bay Lights art project illuminated the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge using 25,000 LEDs to produce randomly generated light patterns. The team at ILLUMINATE, the nonprofit behind The Bay Lights, wanted to inspire people to fund other amazing large-scale artworks that could transform city spaces and public consciousness. In order to further their mission, ILLUMINATE needed more advanced technology to manage their donor relationships and help raise funds for their initiatives. To do this, they turned to Salesforce App Cloud.


Photography by James Ewing

The Solution

One of ILLUMINATE’s corporate supporters is With the use of Salesforce App Cloud and Nonprofit Starter Pack, ILLUMINATE was able to establish a donor system of record. Heroku contributed platform resources and developers to create this donor engagement app and power the Shine It Forward program.

The app was primarily created by one developer with occasional input from others on specific features. It uses Heroku Connect to sync donor data with Salesforce on the backend. The strategic use of several Heroku Add-ons to develop certain features allowed the app’s developer to stay on track to deliver within a six-week timeframe.

The Results

With Salesforce App Cloud, Nonprofit Starter Pack, and Heroku, ILLUMINATE built a conceptual bridge — helping people connect The Bay Lights to the possibility of future public art. Their Shine It Forward program invites people to dedicate one of the re-installed artwork’s LEDs to a loved one. By doing so, people not only further personalize their own experience of The Bay Lights, but also help bring more monumental art to their community.

For ILLUMINATE, artistic and technology innovation are the perfect match. Together, they can help inspire generosity, create meaningful art, and build a stronger, engaged community.

Donate and Get Salesforce Matching

For Salesforce employees — dedicate a Bay Light to a loved one and #ShineItForward! Your donation will be matched by


Download: Build Apps for Nonprofits Data Sheet