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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Introduces the Lucas Institute for Venture Ethics

SANTA CLARA, CALIF., U.S.A., February 21, 2023 / -- Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics announced the creation of the Lucas Institute for Venture Ethics, the first and only institute focused solely on the study and promotion of applied venture ethics. The new program will be led by Tracy Barba, who has joined the Markkula Center as its first director of venture and equity ethics.

Lucas Institute for Equity Ethics
The institute, made possible through a grant from the Lucas Brothers Foundation, will engage investors and entrepreneurs throughout Silicon Valley and around the world through the creation of a collaborative space for individuals to explore how to harness the power of investing and innovation to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world. In addition to producing a set of guidelines for venture capital and private equity investors, the Institute will establish a comprehensive training program for startups around ethical innovation.

Tracy Barba
Barba is founder of ESG4VC, a nonprofit advancing ESG policies and practices in venture capital. She was most recently head of ESG at 500 Global and prior to that she led marketing and investor development for Bamboo Capital Partners, a private equity impact fund investing in financial services, renewable energy, and healthcare sectors across more than 30 emerging and frontier market countries. Before that, she led public affairs at Social Finance US, the firm behind the Social Impact Bond. She was the West Coast executive director of Golden Seeds, a 275-member investor network investing in women-led companies. She started her career with venture funds in Silicon Valley, where she was the director of marketing and strategic relations for VantagePoint Venture Partners.

“With nearly two decades spent in venture capital, impact investing, private equity, and social finance, Tracy is remarkably knowledgeable in this area, and is the perfect person to help us launch this new program,” said Don Heider, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

“2021 was a record-breaking year for venture capital investment in technology, and 2022 proved to be a watershed year for tech breakthroughs (generative AI and crypto, among others) and challenges with broad societal impacts (FTX),” said Tracy Barba, director of venture and equity ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. “These events highlight an opportunity to look at venture capital's governing principles and values. I’m excited about the opportunity to combine the expertise of the Markkula Center with the VC community's potential to enhance human flourishing while addressing the evolving risks and challenges that rapid innovation poses.”

Barba is available to provide commentary to members of the media on issues and ethical dilemmas associated with her expertise.

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Founded in 1986 with a seed grant and initial endowment from Linda and A.C. “Mike” Markkula Jr., the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics brings the traditions of ethical thinking to bear on real world problems. Beyond a full range of programs for the Santa Clara University community, the Center also serves professionals in fields from business to health care, from government to technology, providing innovative approaches to problems from conflicts of interest to privacy protection. Through its website and international collaborations, the Center brings ethical decision-making resources to the wider world. For more information, see

Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Assis. SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1% of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information, see

Joel Dibble
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara Univ.
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Feb 21, 2023