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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Annual Report 2019-20



A Year Like No Other

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Message from the Executive Director

The Ethics Center strives to help people and organizations make ethical choices that respect and care for others. Never has this been more necessary than during the past 12 months, as we've experienced a year like no other. Historic challenges have forced individuals, businesses, and governments to take action and make decisions not previously considered. With the help of our donors, the Ethics Center spent this past year producing programs and resources to assist with these challenges, and many are highlighted in this report.

Santa Clara University was also affected by a closed campus. We were forced to find new ways to reach many of our constituents amidst the challenges brought on by the pandemic, including convening experts for virtual, online discussions on the day’s most pressing topics, interviewing guests on a new podcast series, or presenting our Annual Report online.

In the past 12 months, the Center experienced other changes, including Margaret McLean stepping down from her role as center associate director and director of the Bioethics Program; and the passing of our dear Hana Callaghan, director of government ethics. Now leading bioethics and its popular Health Care Ethics Internship Program is a senior cancer surgeon and medical ethicist, Dr. Charles Binkley. The Center also hired Jonathan Kwan as the Post-Doctoral Fellow in Immigration Ethics for a two-year term to lead the Center's work in this highly contentious area. We were also excited to welcome a new Senior Director of external relations for the center, Meghan Shoven.

I invite you to recount our efforts over the past academic year and look forward, with us, to 2020-21 with new hope.


Don Heider

Executive Director

Ethics in Action


Through this challenging year, the Center developed ethical decision-making resources for professionals and organizations in fields from business to health care and from the government to the social sector. Some of these included the following:


Virtual event information
Navigate here to Essential Ethics

Virtual conversations with top thought leaders in their fields.

A stage with three spotlights
Navigate here to Ethics Spotlights

In-depth explorations of ethical dilemmas associated with the most challenging issues of the day.

A guide for U.S. voters
Navigate here to Voting for Ethics

A non-partisan how-to guide for U.S. voters.

An open hand
Navigate here to Ethical Giving Guide

This guide helps individual donors and family foundations think through their nonprofit giving decisions.

Office workers stand in a circle and put their hands together
Navigate here to Culture Self-Assessment Practice

Materials designed to help organizations conduct a culture assessment for ethics.

A pencil and envelope
Navigate here to Ethical Gift Acceptance Materials

A resource offering practical and ethical considerations for non-profits that face increasing scrutiny for gift acceptance decisions.

By the numbers graph

Despite the challenges of a closed campus, the Ethics Center broadened its reach in 2019-20 and reached its constituents in new ways.


A summary of expenses and revenues from 2019-20.

Our Donors

The important work done by the Ethics Center is, in part, made possible by the generous financial support of its donors

Advisory Board

We are guided by an Advisory Board comprised of representatives of major Silicon Valley companies, law firms, and nonprofit organizations.

Program Areas


Ethics is crucial to every professional field, and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics develops programs, resources, and insights in many disciplines.



Bioethics seeks to resolve moral dilemmas that arise in health care and biotechnology.


Business Ethics is the study of standards of behavior that promote human welfare and the common good within businesses.


Campus Ethics welcomes Santa Clara University students, faculty, and staff into a conversation about applying ethics to the critical issues of our time.


Government Ethics encompasses the duties and obligations one assumes when he or she enters public service, as well as the personal pursuit of running for office.


Immigration Ethics explores the moral issues that arise from the movement of individuals across borders.


Internet Ethics explores topics including online privacy, cybersecurity, social media, data ethics, the digital divide, internet access, and more. And in collaboration with the Technology Ethics program, it also addresses AI ethics and corporate tech ethics development.
Journalism & Media Ethics offers journalists a framework for ethical journalism and uses ethical principles to frame the design and delivery of news, social media, and search products.


Leadership Ethics looks at the issues faced by those in formal leadership roles, as well as personal leadership, which is central to the way they are able to have an impact as leaders.


Religious and Catholic Ethics program seeks to illuminate and comment on the influence of religious and Catholic thought on the ethical dimension of the key issues of our time.


Social Sector Ethics works with both donors and nonprofit organizations themselves in the areas of finance and operations, leadership, fundraising, and engagement with the public.


Technology Ethics addresses issues arising from transhumanism and human enhancement ethics, catastrophic risk and ethics, religion and technology ethics, and space ethics.

We encourage you to continue to engage with the Ethics Center by following us on social media on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedInYouTube, and Instagram; subscribing to one of our newsletters or blogs; or becoming a donor.

We’d like to leave you with a message of hope from one of our Hackworth Fellows, Abby Fafinski (‘21), who, inspired by her Catholic ethics project on hope in relation to social justice and mental health, has asked her fellow 2020-‘21 Hackworth Fellows to provide an image that brings them hope.

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“To me, hope is more than simply waiting and wishing for something to happen. It requires action, perseverance, and empathy. Even though hanging a “Black Lives Matter” poster is such a miniscule action, it reminds me that no matter how hopeless things feel, there will always be people who truly desire to help you and hear you and that beauty can always be found.”


View the rest of these messages of hope and leave your own on our Instagram.