statement of values

"My conception of a public service club is a body whose members shall have entire confidence in each other’s regard for the public welfare, however diverse their views of obtaining it—their views, in fact, being as diverse as possible in order that no point of view may be missed."
–Edward F. Adams, Founder of The Commonwealth Club, 1903


The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's premier public forum and the oldest major cultural institution in San Francisco. The Club embodies the democratic values of free and open debate and was founded in 1903 as a public service club. The Commonwealth Club thrives today as a hub of social, intellectual and educational interaction in the Bay Area.

The Commonwealth Club presents high-profile speakers with a broad range of views in all fields, including politics, the arts, science, education, and media. The Club endeavors to select speakers who do not espouse racism, hate speech, or violence. The Club does not pay its speakers; their views are their own and their participation does not constitute or imply endorsement or recommendation by The Commonwealth Club.


As stated in our founding charter, those attending Commonwealth Club events, both in person and online, and utilizing its facilities will respect the rights and dignity of others.

All those working on behalf of the Club (including, but not limited to, staff, security personnel, volunteers, private contractors and freelancers) are committed to treating one another, members and guests equitably and with respect; we appreciate you treating the Club, its staff, volunteers, security personnel and other guests equitably with courtesy and respect at all times.

In virtual chat rooms and in person, the following will not be tolerated: personally offensive comments related to gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. Also unacceptable are: sexual images in public spaces, real or implied violence, intimidation, oppression, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate remarks in online question areas, physical contact, or unwelcome sexual attention.

Membership and Access Privileges

The Commonwealth Club reserves the right to deny access or membership to any person for any reason. Suspension or termination of Club membership or guest privileges may result from a violation of the Club's values.

Safety and Security

The Commonwealth Club is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all members and guests. The Club has on-site security personnel to ensure the safety of all our visitors. To promote the well-being of all, we ask individuals to follow all security and safety instructions.

For some controversial programs or speakers, we may have additional security procedures or personnel on-site. These will be noted in advance.

Identification and Ticketing 
Members and guests are required to check in at the front desk and receive a ticket for each event they would like to attend. We ask that members and guests identify themselves to staff when asked and be able to produce identification upon request.  

Club staff members and volunteers are eager to be of assistance to all of our attendees. Members and guests should not hesitate to ask a staff member or volunteer if any assistance is needed. 

The Club reserves the right to make exceptions to our check-in policy to meet special needs of our members and guests.