First Principles Forum

The First Principles Forum convenes founders and early employees in the technology sector with access to resources from recent IPOs or company acquisitions to advance their thinking on impact and philanthropy. This gathering and network provide opportunities to support and challenge the next generation of philanthropic leaders to think consciously about the impact they can have, from the outset of their wealth accumulation. The goal of the Forum is to create a network of peers and mentors for these new philanthropists, so they can lean on each other and collaborate as they embark on their philanthropic journey. Attendance is by invitation only. 



We are thrilled to announce that the First Principles Forum will now be hosted by Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS) with event Co-Chairs Roy Bahat, Head of Bloomberg Beta and newly appointed member of the Stanford PACS Advisory Board, along with Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Stanford PACS Co-Founder and Advisory Board Chair. 

Interested in joining the First Principles Community? Is this you?

  • The technology company where I work recently went public or was acquired, and I now have new and increased personal resources.
  • I want to think consciously about the impact I can have with these, and all of my resources.
  • I might give a meaningful portion of my wealth in service of impact, and I am looking for a group of peers to help narrow my focus and inspire me to take further action.


If yes to all, we encourage you to request to join us by completing this form:

Request to Join



The inaugural First Principles Forum was held on July 18-19, 2019 with the goal to create a community of tech company founders and early employees who had recently undergone a liquidity event and who were interested in effective philanthropy. The forum gathered nearly 50 founders and early employees, along with 30 foundation, nonprofit and government leaders, experts in the field and advisors to some of the world’s most high-capacity philanthropists.  See the 2019 First Principles Forum Agenda here.

The 2019 Forum was co-hosted by Schmidt Futures and Bloomberg Beta, with programming input from Stanford PACS. Sponsors included Silicon Valley Bank, Davis Wright Tremaine, and The San Francisco Foundation. The program design was led by Roy Bahat, head of Bloomberg Beta and Denise Hearn, co-author of The Myth of Capitalism.

The Forum generated very positive feedback from participants, speakers, and sponsors signaling the appetite to continue hosting future events and further developing this community. Following discussions with Roy who joined the Stanford PACS’ Advisory Board in early 2020, Stanford PACS has taken ownership of the Forum for 2020 and into the future.  Stanford PACS believe this Forum is a critical avenue to advance the knowledge, community, and engagement of the next generation of Bay Area philanthropists. As part of our goal to improve the practice and effectiveness of philanthropy, we see an opportunity to build a broader community of philanthropists through both the First Principles Forum and Philanthropy Innovation Summit.

Why First Principles?

Reasoning from first principles is the practice of starting with the most basic building blocks of our knowledge — the notions that can’t be deduced any other way. Many are drawn to work in the technology industry to provokechange, and the same first principles that leaders apply in that context can help to question traditional ways of doing things.

The idea of reasoning from first principles goes back as far as the Greek philosophers, and it’s become popular both in technology and in finance in recent years as a way to make sure that our thinking is on solid footing. As we learn together about how to have a positive impact on the world, we want to uncover and test the reasons we’re doing this in the first place — our first principles.