An Expansive History of the SVLG
and our Accomplishments

In the summer of 1977, renowned Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard hosted a luncheon for 32 Valley visionaries. Their conversation was wide ranging: the ongoing energy crisis, the direction of education, development of the next generation of workforce – and so much more. The attendees there realized all their businesses were confronting similar issues, and decided to form a proactive organization dedicated to resolving them. One that would advocate for the economic vitality and quality of life of the region.

The organization initially called the Santa Clara County Manufacturing Group, was formed that day. Today it’s known as the Silicon Valley Leadership Group or simply SVLG, an organization with the greater part of four decades working towards the goals of building our unique, regional innovation ecosystem that now powers the global economy.

Originally, SVLG’s charter members focused on three significant topics of the time: easing traffic congestion, improving housing opportunities and promoting sound energy policy. Today, each remains vital to our policy initiatives, but those aims have expanded. Our policy work includes the areas of Climate & Energy, Tech & Innovation, Racial Justice & Equity, Housing, Health & Transportation, Education & Workforce and Economic Development. This important work is supplemented by nation-leading initiatives, programs, and partnerships to amplify the commitments of our member companies as engaged corporate citizens driving positive, measurable impact.

Through the years, SVLG has worked with senior executives, legislators, community leaders, corporate partners as well as other business groups to move solutions forward. Alone or with partners, we’ve helped forge a better path for the Bay Area, California and the nation.

Under our three previous CEOs, Peter Giles, Gary Burke, and Carl Guardino, SVLG and our member companies have built a considerable list of achievements, leading the way for our businesses and community to further prosper. SVLG membership has grown from those original dozens to hundreds of businesses, many of which define not just their industries but the world.

Today our current CEO, Ahmad Thomas – who began his tenure in the summer of 2020 – brings this proud legacy to its next iteration. A former investment banking executive with a unique blend of finance, social leadership, lived experience, and public policy expertise, Thomas is a change agent guiding SVLG into its next impactful chapter. We are proud to say that for almost 45 years, SVLG has had a far ranging, positive impact on our companies, our communities and our innovation economy. We will continue in this important work and we are always proud to say we represent Silicon Valley.

Our History

Inaugural Luncheon

David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, hosts a lunch in Palo Alto with 32 of the Valley's visionaries to form a proactive employer group collaborating on issues vital to the economic health and vitality of Silicon Valley - the Santa Clara County Manufacturing Group. All 33 signed on July 18th, 1977.


January 5, 1978 - Santa Clara County Manufacturing Group Legally Formed: The Group begins with 33 charter members. Peter Giles is the first President & CEO.

Business Expertise Loaned to Government: One of the goals of the Manufacturing Group is to assist local and state governments in “running more effectively and efficiently.” The Group successfully aids the County with their computerized budget and accounting system, and other requests for help come in.

Transportation and Housing Wins

MTC’s Top Transportation Honor: The Manufacturing Group receives the Metropolitan Commission’s top honor - the Grand Award. The Group is recognized for partnering with businesses and the community on transportation solutions such as establishing 75 employer-based commute programs to provide employees with alternatives to driving alone.

Housing Advocacy Steps Up: To advocate for affordable housing, plans were drafted to form "Housing Action Committees" in each city to testify before city councils and planning commissions.

Land Rezoned to Accommodate Need for Housing

The Manufacturing Group publishes its first housing study, emphasizing the need for a jobs-housing balance, and urges public officials to rezone land from industrial and commercial to residential. The report also calls for more compact development to help lower housing costs and make better use of the Valley's limited land resources, and to place housing more closely to jobs. Several cities agree, and thousands of acres are re-zoned for residential development.

Carpools and Chemicals

The Manufacturing Group Champions Two Traffic Initiatives: The county’s first carpool lane was added to Lawrence Expressway and the Highway 237 Task Force was created.

Model Chemical Storage Ordinance: SVMG also helped draft the Model Chemical Storage Ordinance, which was emulated throughout the state and nation.

Working with Sacramento

David Packard communicates to Governor Jerry Brown the importance of a sound energy policy to meet the needs of high-tech employers. The Board convinces the Governor to fund right-of-way acquisition to protect the Highway 85 Corridor, and works out support for a future Highway 87 to include both light rail and roads.

Measure A Gets Under Way

Partnering with then-Santa Clara County Supervisor Zoe Lofgren to develop a half-cent sales tax to build Hwy 85, improve Hwy 101 and turn Hwy 237 into a full freeway. The Manufacturing Group sponsors a successful campaign to appeal to voters. All three improvements were completed within ten years, on time and on budget, making Santa Clara County the first “self-help” county.
Following the lead of Santa Clara County, 23 counties representing 80 percent of all Californians have since passed similar measures. These measures now fund $1 of every $2 dollars invested in the state's transportation system.

Wins with Task Forces

Golden Triangle Task Force: To build on the success of the traffic improvements in Measure A, the Manufacturing Group partners with six cities to form the Golden Triangle Taskforce to address transportation, housing, jobs and land use issues. The Taskforce eventually merges with the Congestion Management Agency. The Taskforce also encourages companies to establish rideshare programs, and cities to work with each other and the private sector.

Clean Water Task Force Formed: The Manufacturing Group creates the Clean Water Task Force, a separate entity under the umbrella of the group. It is incorporated into the Manufacturing Group in 1990.

Leadership on Carpool Lanes

The Board of Directors reiterates its support and leadership - through the Golden Triangle Task Force - for a countywide system of carpool lanes.

Gary Burke is selected to be the new President and CEO.

Model Toxic Gas Ordinance

The Manufacturing Group, joined by City Managers throughout Santa Clara County, and by environmental groups such as the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, drafts a stringent countywide ordinance to add further controls on gases used in the County. The ordinance is aimed at any gas user, both private and public sector, to respond to increased concern over the potential release of toxic gases.

Board Endorses Gas Tax Increase

The Board of Directors votes to support Proposition 111, a nine cent increase in the state gas tax to fund transportation improvements. The Manufacturing Group leads the effort in Santa Clara County and it passes in1990.

Reducing CFCs

The Board of Directors votes to play a leadership role in reducing CFCs. A CFC alternatives conference sponsored by the Manufacturing Group draws 200 industry and public leaders. Silicon Valley high-tech firms become the national leaders in reducing this form of pollution.

Support of OSupport of Open Space and Internship Programpen Space and Internship Program

Jan 1992 - Support of Open Space: Santa Clara Valley Manufacturing Group joins the Greenbelt Alliance in support of state legislation to create Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. Later signed into law, it protects tens of thousands of acres of open space.

May 1992 - Internship Program Established: Volunteers from local colleges are recruited to leverage the work of staff and members. Over 800 students and graduates have worked in our offices in the decades since.

Housing and Technology Wins

Feb 1993 - Housing Action Coalition Formed: Manufacturing Group builds Housing Action Coalition with County Planning staff. The purpose is to advocate for “well-built, affordable housing in appropriate locations” so Valley cities can service them. Over its 22-year lifespan, the group, with more than 200 organizations and individuals, advocates for more than 250 housing developments. The Housing Action Coalition has merged into SV@Home, and continues the work today.

May 1993 - Housing Symposium Draws Hundreds: The Manufacturing Group and the Housing Action Coalition sponsor a housing symposium: Creating Communities for the 21st Century. The event attracts more than 400 business, government and community leaders concerned about the Valley's need to build affordable homes and create attractive, livable communities that will enhance the region.

Jul 1993 - Board Endorses the County's Technology Bond Proposal: In a partnership with Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Gonzales, member companies purchase approximately $12 million in technology bonds so that the county can acquire and install new technology systems throughout its departments.

Permit Efforts and Library Ballot

Jan 1994 - Permit Streamlining Efforts Launched: The Manufacturing Group organizes its permit streamlining committee, consisting of facility directors from member companies and their public sector counterparts, the Chief Building Officials, of numerous jurisdictions.

Apr 1994 - Countywide Library Ballot Initiative Receives Endorsement: The Board of Directors endorses a county ballot measure to help fund public libraries. The measure passes overwhelmingly in the November election.

Victories in Transportation

Vehicle Buy-Back Program: An innovative partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District creates “Cash for Clunkers.” The project raises nearly half a million dollars to purchase and permanently retire more than 400 "gross polluters," with a reduction in pollution of more than 400 tons. The Air District uses this model for their vehicle buy-back program.

Streamlining Commuter Assistance: The Manufacturing Group and the Bay Area Council lead the effort to abolish the costly and controversial "Employer-Based Trip Reduction Programs" in the nine-county Bay Area through state legislation. Most large employers continue or expand their voluntary commuter assistance programs, while eliminating onerous paperwork requirements.

Measures A and B, Passed by Voters

The Manufacturing Group once again leads the state in finding innovative ways to solve regional commute headaches. With half the projects rail transit improvements, and half of them smart roadway improvements, county voters approve a project list that solves nine of the ten worst traffic tie-ups Valley-wide. In the next two years alone, Manufacturing Group staff will assist eight other counties who are considering the "A and B" model.

New CEO and Environmental Wins

Jan 1997 - Carl Guardino is selected as President and CEO.

Apr 1997 - Altamont Commuter Express: The Manufacturing Group serves as the sole business voice in a multi-county partnership to provide commuter train service (ACE) from the Central Valley to Silicon Valley. From the day of the launch, ACE trains run at 82 percent of capacity.

May 1997 - Eco Pass Partnership Initiated: In cooperation with the Valley Transportation Authority, the Manufacturing Group is the principal business voice in encouraging employers to consider the "Eco Pass" Program, allowing their employees free use of buses, express buses and light rail for the entire year.

Numerous Developments for SVMG

July 1997 - Launch of the Bay Area Clean Air Partnership: With the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Bay Area Council, the Manufacturing Group forms BayCAP, the Bay Area Clean Air Partnership. BayCAP engages employers and employees in voluntary programs to reduce pollution on hot, smoggy, Spare the Air days.

Aug 1997 - Housing Trust Fund Created: Created the Housing Trust Fund with the County Board of Supervisors and the Community Foundation. In its first 17 years, the Housing Trust raised more than $110 million in voluntary contributions and leveraged more than $2.5B in private development to help more than 25,000 individuals and families.

Sep 1997 - SVMG actively opposes State Proposition 223: The proposition is defeated in this statewide election. Prop. 223 would have taken away local control on funding decisions and severely hurt smaller school districts.

Oct 1997 - Slow the Flow and Save the Bay: In partnership with the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, the City of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the Manufacturing Group spearheads the "Slow the Flow and Save the Bay" Campaign. The education effort is an in-house employee education campaign initially launched in 75 Valley companies to help reduce wastewater releases into the San Francisco Bay.

Nov 1997 - Partnering with the County Assessor of Santa Clara: SVMG helps to create California's first standardized disc by which employers could file business property statements electronically.

Dec 1997 - Affordable Housing Measure A Passed: SVMG helped to spearhead "Measure A" - an affordable housing initiative on the Countywide ballot that allows more affordable rental homes to be built in each community. The measure passed by a 65 percent margin countywide.

A Monumental Year for Education

Feb 1999 - Teacher’s Housing Initiative: SVMG partners with San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales and the Council to launch San Jose's Teacher Housing Initiative - a proposal to assist San Jose teachers to become homebuyers and therefore help to recruit and retain educators.

Mar 1999 - Summer Fellowships for Teachers: SVMG partners with IISME for the "Summer Fellowship for Teachers" program. This partnership increases the number of teacher fellowships 40 percent from the highest numbers achieved in IISME’s 17-year history.

May 1999 - Education Partnership: SVMG completes a 12-month partnership with educators in 44 Silicon Valley school districts to identify a key area for SVMG and educators to work together: the recruitment and retention of high-quality, qualified teachers. Initiatives are developed in three important areas - teacher training, teacher compensation and teacher housing.

Jul 1999 - Mobility for the Millenium: Finished a year-long study of the 15- county "super-region" called "Mobility for the New Millennium." The study identifies the highest priority transportation needs in the region, and a $15 billion shortfall to fund them.

A Momentous Year for SVMG

Jan 2000 - Convenient Voter Registration: SVMG partners with Secretary of State Bill Jones and the County Registrars' of Voters from Santa Clara, San Mateo and Alameda to encourage high-tech workers to register to vote by downloading the voter registration form.

Feb 2000 - The Statewide Water Bond: SVMG worked on the bond, which will generate $1.9 billion for critical water needs, including $400 million in Silicon Valley.

Apr 2000 - Statewide Transportation Plan: Governor Davis selects Silicon Valley to announce his comprehensive Statewide transportation plan, pledging $5.3 billion in state funds for high priority projects.

June 2000 - SVMG's Energy Summit: Six months in the planning, the Summit happens 72 hours prior to the first "rolling blackout" rocks the Bay Area and California. The first of many, the blackout emphasises the need to upgrade and expand energy sources.

Aug 2000 - BART to Silicon Valley: Then-San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales and the Manufacturing Group co-lead Measure A, a 30-year (2006-2036) half-cent sales tax for the first BART extension, Caltrain and transit. The measure supported the first ten-mile extension with stations in Milpitas and Berryessa generating nearly $7 billion in local funds.

Black-Out Program and Non-Profit

The SVMG Board establishes a 501(c)3 Non-Profit to address issues that do not require advocacy, but are still important to the Valley's future and SVMG's mission.

Many Wins in Legislation

Feb 2002 - Proposition 42 Passes: SVMG served on the Statewide finance committee to pass this initiative, which ensures the sales tax on gasoline is used for transportation purposes.

May 2002 - Hetch Hetchy Legislation Passes: SVMG, in coordination with BA WUA, successfully advocated for three critical pieces of state legislation to ensure the Hetch Hetchy water system will be updated to withstand earthquakes.

June 2002 - Construction Defect Reform Legislation Passes During a nine-year effort, SVMG plays a key leadership role in advocating for state legislation to make it easier to build and insure condominiums and townhomes. The previous regulations had reduced new builds to a drastic and detrimental level.

Continuing Wins in Legislation

Aug 2002 - Housing Board Success: SVMG co-directs the Statewide Housing Bond, which passes with 57.5 percent of the vote. This measure will provide $2.1 billion in affordable homes throughout the state.

Sep 2002 - Measure B Passes: Countywide road initiative passes. Measure B, to direct $2.1 billion in flexible funds to the highest priority road improvements throughout the county, passes with more than 72 percent of the vote.

Oct 2002 - BART Federal Funding: With the leadership of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Mike Honda, Silicon Valley secures a small but strategically vital bit of federal funding for BART to Silicon Valley.

Nov 2002 - SVMG Helps VTA Address Shortfall: SVMG again assists a government agency with executive expertise when it is asked by the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to help them find efficiencies and cost-cuts to aid them in addressing their budget crisis. A team of ten executives volunteer for six months, with nearly $40 million in savings recommended.

SVMG Supports Teachers

May 2003 - Housing Coach Hired: With an emphasis on educators and private sector employees, SVMG hires a “teacher housing coach” to visit schools and job sites and provide trainings on how to become a first-time homebuyer.

Jun 2003 - Teacher Summer Fellowship Continues: IISME Teacher Summer Fellowship - SVMG members once again led the way in providing summer fellowships for teachers. Of the 112 teachers provided with fellowships, 108 were hired by SVMG members.

SVMG changes its name to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

Inaugural Turkey Trot

The Leadership Group organizes the first Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, with 1,900 participants, 240 volunteers and more than $132,000 raised for three local non-profits.

An Exciting Year for SVLG

Jan 2006 - Promises Kept, Project Delivered: Hewlett-Packard hosts our "Promises Kept - Projects Delivered " celebration to commemorate the sun-setting of the 1996 half-cent sales tax. All 19 road and rail transit improvements are completed ontime and on budget.

May 2006 - Alternative Energy Action Plan Created: The Board approves a 12 point "Clean and Green” Alternative Energy Action Plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

Jul 2006 - Promoting Infrastructure Bonds: SVLG plays a large leadership role on 5 key infrastructure bonds to fund water, levees, transportation, housing and education. All five pass.

Nov 2006 - Turkey Trot Grows: SVLG hosts our 2nd Annual Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. There are 3,200 participants, 350 volunteers and $190,000 is raised for local non-profits.

Santa Clara BART Extension Funded

CTC allocates $346 million towards the BART to Santa Clara County extension.

Bay Area Compact on Climate Change

With the three Big City Mayors of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, the Leadership Group launches a public, private partnership to tackle Climate Change throughout the region.

Inaugural Women & Girls Leadership Summit

Held at Burnett Middle School in San Jose, there are nearly 600 participants (450 students and nearly 150 women executives and elected leaders). Speakers included Congresswoman Jackie Speier and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

CEO Airport Task Force Formed

Under the leadership of Mercury News Publisher Mac Tully and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a "CEO Airport Task Force" is launched to secure international flights to San Jose International Airport.

An Eventful Year for SVLG

Mar 2012 - Promoting a Regional Patent Office: SVLG continues to work to secure a Regional Patent Office of the USPTO in Silicon Valley. More than 125 CEOs sign on to a letter in support, with 40 individual CEO letters also submitted to underscore our strong support.

Apr 2012 - BART Receives $900 Million: After a decade's worth of work, the Federal Transit Administration approves our Full-Funding Grant Agreement for $900 million. Along with $764 million secured from the state through the CA Transportation Commission, the federal and state commitments are now secured to activate the 2008 "Measure A" 1/8 of one cent sales tax collection. Construction on the first 10-mile segment of the 16.1-mile BART extension can now begin.

Jun 2012 - The Bay Restoration & Flood Protection Initiative is Launched: County voters approve the "Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Plan" to provide more funding to the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

Nov - 2012 - 8th Annual Turkey Trot is a Success: The 8th Annual Applied Materials "Silicon Valley Turkey Trot" draws 24,244 paid participants, with $1.2 million donated to local nonprofits helping families in need.

Dec 2012 - Santa Run of Silicon Valley Launched: To save and strengthen "Christmas in the Park" and "Holiday Ice," the inaugural "Santa Run Silicon Valley" is launched.

SVLG Works to International Flights to San Jose Airport

To ensure the airport continues to serve our membership well, the Leadership Group leads the effort to secure international non-stop flights between Tokyo and San Jose International Airport, serviced by All Nippon Airways (ANA). SVLG secured domestic, long-haul flights to SJC International Airport by providing a crucial employer voice to British Airways, Lufthansa, and Hainan Airlines. By working with our members, we championed the addition of international flights to London, Beijing, and Frankfurt from SJC. With more domestic and international flights on the horizon, we will continue to ensure SJC is serving the business travel needs of the community.

10th Annual Turkey Trot Becomes Largest in the World

For our 10th Annual Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, our race attracts 26,553 paid participants. It is the largest timed Thanksgiving race in the world.

An agreement to bring the Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to Silicon Valley is reached.

Leadership Group Co-Leads Three Major Ballot Initiatives

Mar 2016 - Measure AA for Bay Restoration and Flood Protection provides critical resources to restore wetlands, improve water quality for wildlife habitat, and protect communities from flooding across the San Francisco Bay Area.

May 2016 - Measure B in Santa Clara County for Traffic Relief, Road Repairs and Transit Alternatives is a 3-plus year effort for a traffic relief and road repair measure in Santa Clara County. Measure B was approved by a resounding 71.78 percent of Santa Clara County voters, providing $6.5 billion in local funds for transportation improvements over 30 years.

June 2016 - Measure D in Santa Cruz County. Moving Santa Cruz County Forward, passes with the approval of ⅔ of Santa Cruz County voters. It is a 30-year ½ cent sales tax to fund maintenance, pedestrian and bicycle projects, safety projects and more. It will generate $400-500 million.

July 2016 - The Regional Patent Office Opens

Major Successes in Transportation

Feb 2017 - CalTrain Electrification Funds Secured: After 21 years of leadership, CalTrain receives the final portion of funds needed to electrify the line. This $1.98 billion project is now moving forward, with electrification expected by 2021 and passenger service starting in 2022. Electrification will grow capacity on the line from the current 62,000 weekday passenger trips to more than 110,000. It will also be 97 percent cleaner and 15 percent faster.

April 2017 - North San Jose BART Station Opens: Under budget and ahead of schedule, the $2B BART extension from Fremont/Warm Springs to north San Jose is complete. BART started service to the area in March of 2017. The station, which features solar panels, bioswales, charging stations in the parking lot and a 10-acre wetland, was awarded “Project of the Year 2017” by the California Transportation Foundation. The project finished $100,000,000 under budget. The Leadership Group led the successful ballot measure campaigns in 2000 and 2008 that raised the funds to make the extension possible.

May 2017 - History Making State Transportation Package: Collaborated with Governor Jerry Brown and Senator Jim Beall to move SB1, the massive Transportation Funding bill, through the California Legislature. SB 1 will provide $5.2 billion over the next 10 years to address both the aging and growing pains of California’s transportation system.

Advances in Several Policy Areas

Jul 2017 - Solutions to Regional Traffic Relief: Co-sponsored Senate Bill 595 which the Governor signed into law. This legislation allows for a consolidated election across the nine Bay Area counties to approve $4.45B in regional traffic relief projects as part of the “Regional Measure 3”, which appeared on the June 2018 ballot. Sponsored SB 797 allowing a one eighth cent sales tax on a joint ballot in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco counties to provide revenue for Caltrain operations, maintenance, and capacity improvements.

Aug 2017 - Securing Our Water Supply: Advocated to secure critical 7-0 Santa Clara County Water District Board vote, via Op-eds, executive meetings, work with the Governor’s Office, etc. which helped pave the way for the long-awaited upgrade of California’s water supply system. This victory helps ensure our region has the baseline supply of water it needs now and into the future.

Sep 2017 - Extensive State Housing Package: Facilitated the passage of the historic 2017 State Housing Package. The package contained SB 2, SB 3, SB 35, and AB 1505; all key pieces of legislation designed to address the current California housing crisis.

Huge Wins Involving Finance

Nov 2017 - Landmark Cap and Trade Extension: Shaped legislation and secured the necessary two thirds, bi-partisan vote to extend cap and trade, which is the most effective way to address global warming as it creates a financial incentive for reducing pollution at the least cost and a profit motive for developing clean technologies. This victory provides market and regulatory certainty through 2030.

Nov 2017 - Largest Turkey Trot in the Nation: Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation hosts the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. In its first thirteen years, the event donated over $10 million to charitable organizations providing support for individuals and families in need.

Dec 2017 - Fair Reimbursement for Providers: Acted as a key business voice supporting a critical Medi-Cal provider reimbursement by advocating for a successful compromise resulting in the allocation of up to $546 million from Prop. 56 Tobacco Tax revenue to doctors, dentists, and other Medi-Cal providers that support underserved communities.

Dec 2017 - Assured Science Funding: Administration’s proposed budget which would have slashed National Institute of Health (NIH) funding, and eradicated Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Successfully worked with Congressional partners to support gains of $2B to National Institute of Health (NIH), $9M to NSF, and $15M to the preserved ARPA-E program.

Education and Environment Efforts

Jan 2018 - The Leadership Group Supports Teachers: The Leadership Group advocates for funding to recruit, train, and retain high-quality public school teachers. The state budget increases funding for all segments of public education and dedicates $125 million towards alleviating California’s ongoing teacher shortage.

Feb 2018 - 100% Clean Energy by 2045: The Leadership Group supports SB 100 – the bill increases the state’s renewable portfolio standard for clean energy to 60% by 2030 and has the state set a goal of zero carbon generation of energy by 2045. SB 100 was signed by Governor Brown.

Mar 2018 - Environment & Water Conservation & Drought Preparedness: AB 1668 (Friedman) and SB 606 (Hertzberg): The Leadership Group works with a coalition and lobbies for passage of these bills. AB 1668 and SB 606 set permanent water efficiency standards and implement drought preparedness measures through a collaborative process between state and local water agencies. These conjoined bills will help ensure our region and the state are well prepared for the next drought. Passes and signed.

Health, Housing, and Privacy

May 2018 - Health Policy: AB 2517 (Wood and Arambula): The Leadership Group advocates for a package of health reform bills to increase access to care and seeks a compromise that would identify alternatives to a costly Single Payer health care proposal. The Advisory Panel is a critical step in crafting effective, sustainable policy that can stabilize the health care market and provide universal access to quality care.The establishment of an Advisory Panel was introduced as a bill and was ultimately funded in the state budget.

Jun 2018 - Housing Californians in Need: Housing & Community Development Props 1 & 2 The Leadership Group’s work on propositions 1 and 2, from the November 6, 2018 ballot, helped these important ballot measures pass with sweeping majorities. Prop 1 authorizes $4 billion in bonds to build and provide affordable housing for veterans, working families, people with disabilities, Californians experiencing homelessness and many others who need a stable, affordable home. Prop. 2, the “No Place Like Home” Program, authorizes the state to use $2 billion in bonds, paid for by the Mental Health Services Act, to build supportive housing and services for Californians living with a serious mental illness who are homeless or at great risk of becoming homeless.

Aug 2018 - Clarifying the Privacy Act: Tech and Innovation SB 1121 clarifies various sections of the recently-passed California Consumer Privacy Act. It caps violation penalties and delays enforcement of the Privacy Act until the Attorney General has sufficient time to weigh in on enforcement matters. This benefits member companies by providing much needed clarity to the new Privacy Act, and limits their financial exposure in the event of an unintentional violation of the Act.

Policy Developments for a Changing Silicon Valley

Feb 2019 - Zero-Emission Public Transit Buses: The Leadership Group supports, and the Governor signed, AB 784. This strengthens in-state manufacturing, improves local air quality and community health by speeding the adoption and deployment of zero-emissions vehicles.

Apr 2019 - BART Phase II Funding: FTA approved $125 million in funds to help BART Phase II, the project to extend BART to downtown San José.

Jun 2019 - Rent Increase Cap: Leadership Group members have a difficult time attracting and retaining employees due to hugely high housing costs. AB 1482 is a 10-year rent stabilization measure that creates certainty for 8 million California renters by limiting rent increases to a maximum of 5% per year, plus inflation not to exceed 10%, and requiring “just cause” for eviction. The Leadership Group is proud to work with a broad coalition of housing, tenant and business groups towards the passage of this important bill.

Jul-Sep 2019 - Modern Changes for a Modern Silicon Valley

Jul 2019 - Streamlining for Moderate-Income Housing: AB 1485 expands SB 35 streamlining to housing developments that include 20% moderate-income housing in jurisdictions that are not meeting their missing middle housing needs. We worked with Assemblymember Wicks to support this legislation because our communities are not building enough moderate-income housing and this is a category of housing that does not get public funding subsidies.

Aug 2019 - Increasing Restrictions on Tobacco Delivered by Mail: SB 39 requires packages containing tobacco products to be labelled and signed for by a person 21 years of age or older. This aligns tobacco packages with alcohol packages, helps promote health equity and protects our most vulnerable populations, including our youth, from preventable diseases and health risks from tobacco products. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group supported the bill in writing and in talks with legislators as part of our Sacramento lobbying trip.

Sep 2019 - Creating Parity for Telehealth Services: AB 744 requires reimbursement parity between a telehealth service “on the same basis and to the same extent” as an in-person health care visit. Our top priority is to increase access to health care across our state, particularly for our rural and underserved communities, and this bill helps both. The Leadership Group worked with a broad coalition to urge passage of the bill.

Sep 2019 - Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund: This bill helps California by providing a long-term, dedicated source of funding for programs and projects that ensure universal access to safe, clean drinking water for all of our state’s residents. The Leadership Group was proud to be one of the few business groups that worked as part of a coalition to support the bill.

Wins Involving Technologies

Oct 2019 - EV Charging Stations are Parking Stalls: This law benefits Californians by reducing barriers to electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure installation by clarifying that parking stalls served by EV charging stations qualify as “parking stalls” under local minimum parking requirements. The Leadership Group was one of the business groups that proudly worked for passage of AB 1100 as part of a coalition of clean air and clean technology groups.

Nov 2019 - California Cradle-to-Career Data System Working Group: The Leadership Group supported the appropriation of $10,000,000 to move this important policy priority forward by advocating with the Governor’s office directly. In order to identify gaps and evaluate the success of current and proposed programs, California needs a modernized education data system. The education omnibus bill appropriates $10,000,000 to establish the California Cradle-to-Career Data System Working Group. The Group will provide assessment, recommendations, and advice about a statewide data infrastructure that integrates data from state entities responsible for the education and workforce development of Californians at all levels.

Nov 2019 - K-12 Computer Science Coordinator Office, Services Expanded: The education omnibus bill appropriates $1,000,000 to fund a statewide K-12 Computer Science (CS) Coordinator role housed in the California Department of Education to support the rollout of CS across the state. In addition, the budget appropriates $7,500,000 to expand broadband access in schools and $22,100,000 for teacher professional development in a range of subjects, including CS. Computer Science is a voluntary subject area in CA, therefore state investment – in particular, a statewide coordinator and funds for teacher professional development – is vital in order to expand access throughout the K-12 system, especially low-income and underrepresented student populations. The Leadership Group is part of a coalition of CS advocacy organizations that supports these critical state investments.


Mar 2020 - CEO Carl Guardino announces that he will be stepping down.

May 2020 - COVID-19: The Leadership Group, working from home as of March 17th, 2020, immediately made a pivot to our 2020-2022 Workplan, serving our members and our communities in many ways. Our members raise $8,535,000 for frontline workers in four months. The Leadership Group has hosted many informational Zoom Town Halls since March 17, 2020. Our members have collected and shared their best practices for getting back to work for solar installers, construction, manufacturing and tech office spaces.

New CEO, Measures, 25x25

Aug 2020 - Racial Justice & Equity: After the tragic slaying of George Floyd, CEO Carl Guardino recommends to the Executive Board that the organization add a new pillar in our platform on racial justice & equity. We also took out full-page newspaper ads against racism and standing for Racial Justice - nearly 150 of our member CEOs signed up within 24 hours. We are sharpening our lens to view all of our work through a racial justice and equity viewpoint. As a policy organization, we are taking a strong stand on key local, state and federal legislation for Racial Justice & Equity, including police reforms. Take a hard look at our own hiring, promotion and compensation practices, as well as the make-up of our Boards and C-Suites.

Sep 2020 - Ahmad Thomas of Barclays is named the new CEO.

Nov 2020 - Measure RR Saves Caltrain: SVLG strongly supports Measure RR, a three-county ballot item that leverages an ⅛ cent tax to save Caltrain. The measure passed with 70% of the vote, preserving a vital part of our public transportation.

Dec 2020 - Measure S Makes a Splash: SVLG proudly supports Measure S, which continues critical funding to protect the supply of safe, clean water in Santa Clara County, without raising taxes. Measure S raises approximately $45.5 million a year for Valley Water’s efforts in public health and safety, flood protection, wildlife habitat, improved water quality in waterways, natural disaster resilience, and reliable water supply.

Dec 2020 - 25x25 Initiative: SVLG is proud to introduce 25x25, wherein companies pledge that by 2025, 25% of their leadership positions will be held by underrepresented individuals.