FAQs

FAQs

Forum280 is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation and is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service.  All donations to Forum280 are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.  Our tax identification number is 81-1794193 and our mailing address is P.O. Box 268, Palo Alto, California, 94302

What is Forum280’s mission statement?
To apply the innovative and disruptive thinking of Silicon Valley to help solve society’s greatest challenges.

Why was Forum280 founded?  Why is it needed?
With our national government in gridlock, and a dearth of innovative thinking coming out of Washington, numerous policy issues are begging for solutions.  We believe that Silicon Valley founders, venture capitalists and innovators are ideally suited to help bring innovative thinking and practical ideas to the increasingly urgent policy challenges we face.

Who are your members?
Members are successful founders, entrepreneurs, investors, technologists, and civic leaders throughout the US 280 corridor – from San Francisco through Silicon Valley – who want a new form of civic engagement.  Members are committed to applying their innovative thinking and diverse talents to help solve policy challenges and improve lives.

How are you different than existing groups where I can go see people speaking about political issues?
Forum280 events bring together political/policy leaders grappling with significant problems and small groups of Silicon Valley innovators accustomed to tackling challenging problems themselves.  Participants engage in active discussions, with the goal of eliciting disruptive, innovative, and actionable policy ideas and solutions.

Why would political and policy leaders want to engage with Forum280?
Forum280 is an essential stop for any leader seeking to meet and engage with the people who drive Silicon Valley.  Political and policy leaders who are truly devoted to solving problems will have a rare opportunity to sit down for a substantive discussion with the creative, innovative leaders of Silicon Valley.

Forum280 talks about “meaningful action” to help solve policy challenges.  What type of actions do you mean?
“Action” at its core means earnest participation in Forum280 events.  Members should prepare by reading, viewing, and thinking about background materials provided, and then offer constructive questions and ideas during the discussion.  Members then may decide to try to achieve tangible progress on an issue discussed by carrying out concrete activities, such as:  creating a piece of technology to help address a problem; assisting an NGO to further its work on an issue; or creating new avenues to raise awareness and help spark change.  Forum280 will serve as an umbrella to help coordinate, support, and carry out such specific actions.

Do you really think you can make a difference?
The challenge is daunting.  We are inspired by the words of Margaret Mead:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

How do I become a Forum280 member?  Do I have to pay?  What does membership require/entail?
To become a Forum280 member, please sign up at www.forum280.com/membership.  Members will receive Forum280 announcements and invitations, and may participate in any event (so long as we do not reach the attendance limit of 50 people per event).

We are finalizing a membership payment model that will maximize accessibility to Forum280 and help cover administrative and speaker costs.

Can my company or organization sponsor Forum280?
Sponsorship is an excellent way to reach a sophisticated and engaged group of founders, venture capitalists, and innovators.  Forum280 has opportunities for ongoing and individual event sponsorships.  Please contact us at sponsorship@forum280. for details.

Are you a partisan organization?
Forum280 was formed as a charitable organization in California and is waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to decide whether to recognize Forum280 as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. If Forum280’s 501(c)(3) designation is granted, your contribution will be deductible for federal and state income tax purposes, subject to applicable limitations.  Forum280 cannot predict whether the IRS will rule favorably on its application. Accordingly, consult your own tax advisor in determining the federal, state, local and/or foreign tax consequences of your contribution.

If Forum280 is non-partisan, how are your members able to agree on topics, issues, and actions?
The 24-hour left vs. right cacophony coming out of Washington and encouraged by the media drowns out the fact that Americans agree on the fundamental issues of our time. For example, large majorities:  support governmental action to address global warming; believe we need to fight terrorisms but oppose the NSA’s meta-data collection program; believe we need to reform our “prison industrial complex” that has led to the highest incarceration rate in the world; we need to reform our education system; support urgent infrastructure programs; and even support extending federal background checks to all gun buyers.  Forum280 engages in topics and issues that have major impact on lives, have not been properly addressed, and call for an infusion of new thinking to help achieve change.

How often do you meet?
Members meet quarterly in Silicon Valley or San Francisco.  There may be additional ad hoc meetings to accommodate a political or policy leader who would like to meet with Forum280 during a trip to the region.

What are your meetings like?  How many people come to your events?
Meetings are 1-2 hours and structured to encourage interaction of participants toward the goal of stimulating ideas and follow up actions.  Events are limited to 50 people.  A speaker (or panel of speakers) introduces the topic and provides opinions, followed by a facilitator/moderator-led group discussion.

Members are provided a reading list to help them prepare.  Meetings follow the Chatham House Rule:  “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s)…may be revealed.”