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Gordon and Betty Moore

Gordon and Betty Moore

Gordon and Betty Moore Mar 14

Amount Donated: In excess of £4.3bn

Philanthropic Causes: Environmental conservation, astronomy, biology, patient care, and the San Francisco Bay Area

Region of Philanthropic Focus: Andes/Amazon, oceans (global), San Francisco Bay Area, forests (global)

Ranking: The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation ranks #9 in the U.S. with over £4bn in assets.

Net Worth: £4.5bn

Source of Wealth: Technology

Intel founder Gordon Moore and his wife Betty head one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations, with an endowment worth over £4.3bn

Betty and Gordon established The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2000 with a massive £3.5bn gift. The couple has since channeled hundreds of millions of pounds into global efforts to save forests, improve medical technologies, and increase the store of human knowledge. Their organization champions a ‘theory of change,’ by which funds are effectively allocated based on expert recommendations and analysis.

Born in San Francisco in 1929, Gordon received a PhD in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, a recent recipient of a £70mn gift from its former student, now a Life Trustee.

Betty, born not too far from Gordon in Los Gatos, worked in advertising and public relations before marrying Gordon and joining the Ford Foundation, beginning a long career advancing human welfare.

In 1965, Gordon Moore, already a respected researcher, established one of the most powerful principles in computer science, soon to be named Moore’s Law: the size of dense integrated circuits halves every two years. This law has extensive implications for many technological systems.

Just 3 years later, Moore and Robert Noyce founded Intel Corporation, paving the way for California’s Silicon Valley tech explosion. Among other breakthroughs, Intel created the world’s first microprocessor chip, and was and is a key player in the growth of the personal computer industry. Moore is a recipient of the National Medal of Technology as well as Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour.

In 2000, Betty and Gordon turned their eyes toward philanthropy with the founding of their foundation. Their simple goal: “Creating positive outcomes for future generations.”

Sons Kenneth and Steven Moore serve on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Steven has been the executive director of the Moore Family Foundation since its inception in 1986.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has four areas of focus: Science, Environmental Conservation, Patient Care, and the San Francisco Bay Area. These diverse areas bring the foundation’s members – and grant recipients – to oceans, forests, hospitals, and villages all over the world.

In 2004, Betty Moore spearheaded the launch of the Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative, a drive to ensure a well-prepared RN workforce, increase skills, and improve patient treatment methods. This highly successful campaign has changed 100% of nursing school curriculums in the San Francisco Bay, saved an average of 1000 lives each year from sepsis, and significantly reduced readmission rates in one-third of area hospitals, among other achievements. Perhaps most notably, 80% of key programs were replicated elsewhere, affecting healthcare outcomes across the United States.

All Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation gifts are made according to theory of change, a critical theory for philanthropy that relies on casual linkages – or outcome pathways – to make evaluations about the efficacy of proposed initiatives.

Some of the recent grants awarded by the Foundation target marine conservation, providing support for ocean planning and raising awareness of salmon habitat sustainability. The foundation donates at least 175 million pounds each year.

As for tomorrow? According to Gordon and Betty, “When we contemplate the future, we envision a world 10,000 years from today. At the current rate of global resource extraction and development, our natural environment will be depleted beyond levels that can sustain the population. We have the opportunity to catalyze change to slow the rate of depletion and protect the planet through advancements in environmental conservation and science. By establishing the Foundation, we have created an opportunity to contribute on a scale that we hope can make a significant, positive impact on the world for generations to come.”


Moore Foundation: initiatives, about us, grants, statistics.