Marc and Lynne Benioff, Ron Conway and Dede Wilsey Unveil UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay

ucsf medical center, marc benioff, lynne benioff, ron conway, dede wilsey
Marc Benioff, Lynne Benioff and Ron Conway

Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter

While the rest of the nation cheers on the Seattle Seahawks or New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, a certain group of San Franciscans, led by philanthropists Marc and Lynne Benioff, Ron Conway and Dede Wilsey, will be rooting for another reason: the official opening of the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, a $1.5 billion “Next Generation” hospital complex that is as innovative as the city itself.

The quartet, along with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Mark Laret, CEO, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, Sam Hawgood, UCSF Chancellor, UC San Francisco, plus other key figures gathered on Jan. 29 for the first look at the center made up of three state-of-the-art hospitals [UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, UCSF Bakar Cancer Hospital and UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital], where top clinicians will join expert researchers to develop next-generation therapies and cures.

“Sunday is Super Bowl but it is our Super Bowl here at UCSF as well,” said Laret, adding that 200 patients will be moved from Parnassus to Mission Bay that day.

Benioff, who talks to Haute Living in the January/February 2015 issue about the $200 million gift he and his wife Lynne gave for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, predicts Sunday will be “a very exciting day” while Lynne adds, “We’ll feel proud but we’ll be rooting for the true heroes that day—the kids and their families… .. We’re passionate about children’s health. There’s nothing more important than the health of our kids. We’re able to do this. We’re honored to do this.”

The Salesforce CEO says, “Our goal is simple, which is for the children of San Francisco and the children of Oakland to have the very best healthcare in the world.”

Thanks to the Benioffs and other philanthropists, kids and adults have a new, world-class facility. Rather than toast the medical center with the customary ribbon cutting ceremony, Thursday’s unveiling was celebrated with the ringing of a uniquely San Francisco symbol—a genuine cable car bell. Akshay Sharma, a 19-year-old filmmaker who was diagnosed with bone cancer in June and is recuperating from a successful life-saving surgery, did the honors.

“I don’t think there is a tech leader or company or individual that has not been involved in some way with this hospital—whether it was giving money, designing technology [or] creating a patient solution,” Benioff says. “I think what makes this the most technologically-advanced children’s hospital in the world is the people in San Francisco who have come together to make this happen.

Benioff went on to rattle off the technological advancements of the hospital as if a tour guide.

“It starts right here in the opening lobby where we have these amazing exhibits that have been created by the Exploratorium,” Benioff proudly states. “Then you’re going to go right into the patients’ rooms. You’re going to be see those are completely automated with the latest of touch tablets and large screens from Microsoft. You’ll see phones from Cisco and networks put in by them as well. You’ll see incredible computers from Dell.

“As you walk through into the actual patient care room you’re going to see Next Generation scan rooms that have been designed by General Electric, incredible new ultrasound systems from Phillips. At the end of the tour, you’ll realize that I don’t think there’s anything like this in the world. We’re really lucky to have this in San Francisco and feel very honored to be a part of this.”

Benioff’s buddy Conway, a venture capitalist and founder of SV Angel, and his family recently gave a $40 million gift to help fund the outpatient medical building at UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, now called the UCSF Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building and which opened on Jan. 26.

“I’m in the tech community and I think it’s awesome that the Benioffs, the Conways and Moores—three tech families—are contributing,” Conway says. “And look at the other tech leaders who are doing philanthropic efforts in education like Mark Zuckerberg. Dustin Moskovitz, who is a Facebook co-founder, is a doing a lot of philanthropic work. I think this is just the start for technology and philanthropy.”

dede wilsey ucsf medical center ron conway marc and lynne benioff
Dede Wilsey

Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter

Wilsey, noted as being a patron of the arts, raised $400 million as chair of the Campaign for UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay. The philanthropic force of nature who has a wing named after her in the de Young Museum says that accomplishment doesn’t compare to this medical center on UCSF world-renowned biomedical research.

“This is the biggest,” a beaming Wilsey enthused. “The de Young was just one building. This is just fantastic. This is a city basically, and it’s a city to cure people. You can’t do better than that. It’s just beautiful.”

ucsf medical center at mission bay, mayor ed lee, ron conway, marc and lynne benioff
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter