Seeing ahead by glancing back
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
20th Annual Report

The First 20

Dear Friends,

Reflecting on the past can illuminate the path ahead. 

The year 2020 represents the 20th anniversary of grantmaking at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Throughout our history, and especially in this tumultuous year, we have been guided by our founders’ desire to create lasting change for the good. 

In 2015, Gordon and Betty Moore codified their aims for the foundation. The Statement of Founders’ Intent put into writing the guidance they had shared from the foundation’s inception. Above all, they asked that the foundation “tackle large, important issues at a scale where it can achieve significant and measurable impacts.”

In this report, we feature a select set of principles from our founders that have guided the foundation over the last two decades. 

  • We can offer sustained funding if that is what it takes to achieve durable change.
  • We seek opportunities to provide early, catalytic funding that accelerates progress.
  • We rely on the expertise of those in the field.
  • We embrace a systematic approach and honest evaluations in making our decisions.

The stories below illustrate how these principles have guided our work to date. No doubt, they will continue to serve us well in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Dear Friends,

Reflecting on the past can illuminate the path ahead. 

The year 2020 represents the 20th anniversary of grantmaking at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Throughout our history, and especially in this tumultuous year, we have been guided by our founders’ desire to create lasting change for the good. 

In 2015, Gordon and Betty Moore codified their aims for the foundation. The Statement of Founders’ Intent put into writing the guidance they had shared from the foundation’s inception. Above all, they asked that the foundation “tackle large, important issues at a scale where it can achieve significant and measurable impacts.”

In this report, we feature a select set of principles from our founders that have guided the foundation over the last two decades. 

  • We can offer sustained funding if that is what it takes to achieve durable change.
  • We seek opportunities to provide early, catalytic funding that accelerates progress.
  • We rely on the expertise of those in the field.
  • We embrace a systematic approach and honest evaluations in making our decisions.

The stories below illustrate how these principles have guided our work to date. No doubt, they will continue to serve us well in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Harvey Fineberg signature

Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D.
President

About Our Founders

Tilton Ranch is home to the headwaters of Fisher Creek, which flows north through Coyote Valley (pictured here top of frame) before terminating in the San Francisco Bay. Ancestral lands of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Photo: Courtesy of Hall and Hallock.
from the very beginning

Measurable Impacts

We are mission-driven, fostering path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area. We aim to tackle a limited number of important issues at a scale where we can achieve significant impact. As an evidence-based organization, we incorporate lessons from the past and help them guide our work into the future.

Multi-year Commitments

The foundation wants to tackle projects where we can see significant and measurable impact.

Achieving significant and measurable impacts has always been core to the Moore Foundation’s mission. Not shying away from difficult and complex issues, our long-term involvement allows us to see important and significant progress in the fields where we work. From the creation of our very first initiative, to recent program milestones, the foundation celebrates the successes that stem from our vital partnerships. Our long-standing commitments also illustrate the important evolution of our work; and help us determine how to best support partners in our program areas well into the future.

Front view of the Betty Irene Moore Hall, partof the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, California.

Catalytic Funding

The foundation’s ability to take risks and make long-term and relatively large commitments should allow it to undertake challenges not accessible to many other organizations.

One of the greatest opportunities for philanthropy is to serve as society’s venture capital. Philanthropic resources can jumpstart fields, accelerate progress and lower barriers to success. Reflecting on the past twenty years reveals many examples of how our willingness to take risks, investing in both good ideas and good people, has created positive change in our areas of focus. With early-stage funding and collaboration among unlikely allies, our funding has catalyzed invention, ranging from new scientific instrumentation to sustainable corporate practices. Furthermore, this type of funding also provides grantees the time and space needed to prove their ideas and entice additional funders.

Prototype of an inexpensive “lab on a chip”using “microfluidics” created by Manu Prakash and George Korir, winners of the 2014 Science, Play and Research Kit (SPARK) Competition.
Celebrating 10 years of Forever Costa Rica.
Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative
Marine Microbiology Initiative

Expertise in Grantees

The foundation is critically dependent on capable grantees and should work with them as respected experts in their fields.

In pursuing positive outcomes for future generations, foundation staff are ever mindful that our grantees bring the technical expertise, field knowledge, and frontline perspectives necessary to achieve the lasting change we and they seek. While we have the privilege to support their work through our own wide-lens view, we recognize that we are only able to have that perspective thanks to their depth of knowledge and the information they contribute to our collective understanding. And, for our work to endure, we also understand that we must be working in harmony with the ideas, knowledge, and aspirations of geographically and topically proximate communities.

EPiQS Materials Synthesis Investigator IvanBozovic posing alongside his team with the atomic layer-by-layer molecular beamepitaxy system. Image courtesy of Brookhaven Lab.
Beyond-the-Lab

Scientific Approach

Scientific methodology should be a cornerstone of nearly all of the foundation’s efforts.

From the start, we have been outcomes-driven, and through the years, we’ve relied on rigorous inquiry and adaptive management to guide our work. The scope of the challenges we prioritize guarantee that results are never certain and that conditions are constantly and unpredictably changing. Comprehensive investigations, well-vetted theories of change, and honest evaluation of our impact help us make informed decisions and apply lessons from our successes and failures.

from the very beginning

Multi-year commitments

We are mission-driven, fostering path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area. We aim to tackle a limited number of important issues at a scale where we can achieve significant impact. As an evidence-based organization, we incorporate lessons from the past and help them guide our work into the future.
Celebrating 10 years of Forever Costa Rica.

Multi-year initiatives and commitments

The foundation wants to tackle projects where we can see significant and measurable impact.

Achieving significant and measurable impacts has always been core to the Moore Foundation’s mission. Not shying away from difficult and complex issues, our long-term involvement allows us to see important and significant progress in the fields where we work. From the creation of our very first initiative, to recent program milestones, the foundation celebrates the successes that stem from our vital partnerships. Our long-standing commitments also illustrate the important evolution of our work; and help us determine how to best support partners in our program areas well into the future.

Front view of the Betty Irene Moore Hall, partof the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, California.

Expertise in Grantees

The foundation is critically dependent on capable grantees and should work with them as respected experts in their fields.

In pursuing positive outcomes for future generations, foundation staff are ever mindful that our grantees bring the technical expertise, field knowledge, and frontline perspectives necessary to achieve the lasting change we and they seek. While we have the privilege to support their work through our own wide-lens view, we recognize that we are only able to have that perspective thanks to their depth of knowledge and the information they contribute to our collective understanding. And, for our work to endure, we also understand that we must be working in harmony with the ideas, knowledge, and aspirations of geographically and topically proximate communities.

EPiQS Materials Synthesis Investigator IvanBozovic posing alongside his team with the atomic layer-by-layer molecular beamepitaxy system. Image courtesy of Brookhaven Lab.

Catalytic funding

The foundation’s ability to take risks and make long-term and relatively large commitments should allow it to undertake challenges not accessible to many other organizations.

The foundation’s capacity to serve as a catalyst through its funding has increased the rate of change and lowered barriers. Reflecting on the past twenty years reveals many examples of how the Moore Foundation’s willingness to take risks has enabled grantees and institutions to accelerate progress in our areas of focus. With early-stage funding and collaboration among unlikely allies, we have been able to catalyze the creation of new scientific instruments, traceability and greater transparency in commodities’ supply chains, and the ecosystems that support inventors and opportunities for active public engagement with science. We have also seen that our early funding gives grantees the time and space to prove their ideas to other funders.

Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative
Marine Microbiology Initiative
Beyond-the-Lab
Prototype of an inexpensive “lab on a chip”using “microfluidics” created by Many Prasksh and George Korir, winners of the2014 Science, Play and Research Kit (SPARK) Competition.

Scientific rigor

Scientific methodology should be a cornerstone of nearly all of the foundation’s efforts.

From the start, we have been outcomes-driven, and through the years, we’ve relied on rigorous inquiry and adaptive management to guide our work. The scope of the challenges we prioritize guarantee that results are never certain and that conditions are constantly and unpredictably changing. Comprehensive investigations, well-vetted theories of change, and honest evaluation of our impact help us make informed decisions and apply lessons from our successes and failures.

Grantee voices

Andrea Ghez, Ph.D.

Professor of Astrophysics at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), co-recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics.

“I’m interested in questions about fundamental physics and black holes. I’d describe the work we do as ‘technology-driven discovery.’ We’re helping to develop large telescopes that capture more detailed images than ever before, and we’re using that technology to expand our understanding of the universe, physics and strange phenomena like supermassive black holes.”  

Doug Parker

President and CEO, Land Trust of Napa County .

“The Bay Area is a place where we want to create a balance between population growth and protecting the rare species that exist here. This area is a national hotspot for biodiversity. By linking natural areas together along protected corridors, we can better ensure the survival of our native biodiversity over the long term.”

Erica Shelton, M.D., M.P.H.

Assistant professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

"I want patients to feel empowered to take an active role in their own health and to see their relationship with their doctor and other members of their health care team as partnerships and not one-way discussions comprised of health care providers dictating all aspects of how to manage a patient’s health."

Ken-ichi Ueda,

Director, iNaturalist.

“I hope people understand that science is always complicated, and you should never trust a headline without digging a little deeper.”

Rob Wallace, Ph.D.

Director of the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape Conservation Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society .

“I am fascinated by the importance of communicating and conveying scientific knowledge about the unprecedented biodiversity of the Andes-Amazon region with society, especially an increasingly urban public. In Bolivia… information and images on African and Asian megafauna are often more available and visible than that of the extraordinary national natural heritage. Identidad Madidi is an attempt to change that situation.” 

Grantee voices

Andrea Ghez, Ph. D.

Professor of Astrophysics at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), co-recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics.

“I’m interested in questions about fundamental physics and black holes. I’d describe the work we do as ‘technology-driven discovery.’ We’re helping to develop large telescopes that capture more detailed images than ever before, and we’re using that technology to expand our understanding of the universe, physics and strange phenomena like supermassive black holes.”  

Doug Parker

President and CEO, Land Trust of Napa County 

“The Bay Area is a place where we want to create a balance between population growth and protecting the rare species that exist here. This area is a national hotspot for biodiversity. By linking natural areas together along protected corridors, we can better ensure the survival of our native biodiversity over the long term.”

Erica Shelton, M.D., M.P.H.

Assistant professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

"I want patients to feel empowered to take an active role in their own health and to see their relationship with their doctor and other members of their health care team as partnerships and not one-way discussions comprised of health care providers dictating all aspects of how to manage a patient’s health."

Ken-ichi Ueda,

Director, iNaturalist.

“I hope people understand that science is always complicated, and you should never trust a headline without digging a little deeper.”

Rob Wallace, Ph.D.

Director of the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape Conservation Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“I am fascinated by the importance of communicating and conveying scientific knowledge about the unprecedented biodiversity of the Andes-Amazon region with society, especially an increasingly urban public. In Bolivia… information and images on African and Asian megafauna are often more available and visible than that of the extraordinary national natural heritage. Identidad Madidi is an attempt to change that situation.” 

A 20-year legacy

Looking back on the past twenty years, we are inspired by the work of our grantees and partners over the past 20 years. While certainly not comprehensive, the timeline below illustrates the progress of the foundation and achievements of our grantees.
2020
Celebrating a “forever” conservation model
Program Milestones
Celebrating a “forever” conservation model
When we think about nature, we often assume it will be there forever. Yet, the current reality is teaching us that for nature to continue in perpetuity, as a society, we must take deliberate action. To this end, in 2010, a new partnership set out on a path to conserve millions of hectares of habitat in Costa Rica, forever. Now, 10 years later, we still see the impact of this work.
First cohort of Betty Irene Moore Fellows, Nurse Leaders and Innovators
Program Milestones
First cohort of Betty Irene Moore Fellows, Nurse Leaders and Innovators
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis selects the inaugural cohort of nurse leader fellows. The fellows represent the spirit of Betty Irene Moore's passion to advance the profession of nursing.
Bay Area science museums remote learning resources
Program Milestones
Bay Area science museums remote learning resources
During the COVID-19 pandemic, science museums throughout the Bay Area have closed their doors to visitors, but that doesn’t mean they stopped teaching and innovating. Remote learning became even more important in a time when our communities are sheltering in place, and many science museums pivoted to offer an abundance of resources for feeding curiosity and creativity from home.
2019
The lasting legacy of Peru
Program Milestones
The lasting legacy of Peru
As Peru reached its independence bicentennial in 2021, it did so on a wave of economic prosperity that has transformed the nation. After years of work and collaboration, the funding goal of $140 million needed to expand and manage 41.6 million acres in the Peruvian Amazon has been met, along with other conditions designed to secure the success of this project.
Approach to Philanthropy
Foundation
Approach to Philanthropy
Gordon and Betty Moore set down in their Statement of Founders’ Intent their hopes and expectations for the foundation into the future. As staff, we share a commitment to our founders’ vision and to aligning their aspirations for the foundation with the choices we make and the work we support. To optimize these choices and maximize our philanthropic impact, we pursue our work through shared principles and practices, otherwise known as our Approach to Philanthropy.
Imaging a black hole
Program Milestones
Imaging a black hole
Peppered throughout the cosmos are mysterious monstrosities where gravity is so strong, nothing – not even light – can escape. The extreme gravity of these black holes imparts the ultimate invisibility cloak, hiding them from telescopes and preventing astronomers from seeing them for over a century. An international team of researchers have finally managed to capture an image. On April 10, 2019, they released the first-ever glimpse of an elusive black hole.
Earthquake early warning system tested statewide
Program Milestones
Earthquake early warning system tested statewide
On the 30th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake the United States Geological Survey, State of California Office of Emergency Services, and University of California at Berkeley launched the first statewide earthquake early warning system. The launch allowed for public testing of the system called ShakeAlert.
Launch of Curiosity-Driven Science Initiative
Initiatives & Commitments
Launch of Curiosity-Driven Science Initiative
Since its launch in September of 2019, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s $50 million Curiosity-Driven Science Initiative has furthered active public engagement with and interest in science by investing in experiences that enable everyone — youth and adults, communities and individuals, remote and in-person learners — to meaningfully connect with and participate in science.
Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative
Initiatives & Commitments
Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative
The Moore Foundation launched a new area of research, the Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative. The foundation will invest $140 million to support development of new tools, theory and concepts about aquatic symbioses and to bring different research communities together to learn how symbioses involving microorganisms function, evolve and serve critical ecosystem roles in marine and freshwater environments.
Diagnostic Excellence Initiative launches fellowship program
Program Milestones
Diagnostic Excellence Initiative launches fellowship program
The Diagnostic Excellence Initiative launched an request for proposals to gather novel ideas and approaches for developing new clinical measures to improve diagnosis. The development of clinical quality measures for diagnosis will provide clinicians and medical institutions the ability to track and measure their success and failure rates and provide them with an opportunity to solve for deficiencies and implement improvements.
Forest Resilience Bond
Program Milestones
Forest Resilience Bond
The foundation provided funding to develop and launch the pilot of the Forest Resilience Bond through both a grant and program-related investment. The Forest Resilience Bond has so far proven successful and will restore 15,000 acres of National Forest System land in half the time of typical restoration projects, while also reducing wildfire risk and increasing water resources in the Bay Area.
2018
Launch of LIRA in Brazil
Program Milestones
Launch of LIRA in Brazil
The Amazon contains the largest expanse of intact tropical forests and network of rivers on the planet — and no country can boast more Amazonian territory than Brazil. With foundation support, the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPÊ) has launched a new initiative to strengthen management of more than 80 protected areas and indigenous lands, and to fund sustainable development projects to benefit communities within and surrounding these territories.
Diagnostic Excellence Initiative
Initiatives & Commitments
Diagnostic Excellence Initiative
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will invest $85 million during the next six years, beginning in 2018, to improve diagnostic performance through its Diagnostic Excellence Initiative. The initiative aims to reduce harm from erroneous or delayed diagnoses, reduce costs and redundancy in the diagnostic process, improve health outcomes and save lives.
A new chair of the board
Foundation
A new chair of the board
The foundation announced the election of Paul Gray, Ph.D., as chairman of the board of trustees. Paul Gray joined the foundation's board of trustees in March 2008, became vice chairman of the board in 2013, and served as interim president in 2014.
Providing public access to the Jenner Headlands
Program Milestones
Providing public access to the Jenner Headlands
Where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean, the Jenner Headlands make up 5,630 acres of biologically diverse coastal prairie and forest on the scenic Sonoma Coast. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has supported the acquisition and stewardship of the Jenner Headlands since 2009. Working with partners, the foundation was able to open this beautiful swath of land to the public in 2018.
2017
Historic treaty for fisheries management
Program Milestones
Historic treaty for fisheries management
Ten countries signed an accord to prevent commercial fishing in the high seas of the Central Arctic Ocean, marking a historic agreement for fisheries management, conservation and science.
Lessons learned from redesigning care in the ICU
Program Milestones
Lessons learned from redesigning care in the ICU
In 2016, the Evaluation Sciences Unit at the Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a mixed-methods evaluation of the Patient Care Program’s work to redesign patient care in the intensive care unit. Some of these lessons can be applied broadly and offer important considerations for other foundations and their funding efforts.
Giants of Land and Sea exhibit, Cal Academy
Program Milestones
Giants of Land and Sea exhibit, Cal Academy
The foundation supported the California Academy of Science's exhibit “Giants of Land and Sea," which inspires visitors to explore and spend time wondering about the ever-changing ecosystems and natural phenomena all around us. The exhibit also celebrates the spirit of creativity and invention in the Bay Area that is helping to shape our future.
2016
Moore Inventor Fellows
Initiatives & Commitments
Moore Inventor Fellows
The Moore Inventor Fellowship supports scientist-inventors who create new tools and technologies with a high potential to accelerate progress in the foundation’s areas of interest: scientific discovery, environmental conservation and patient care. The foundation launched the fellowship in 2016 and will allocate a total of nearly $34 million through 2026 to support 50 Moore Inventor Fellows – five fellows per year for ten years.
Conservation and Markets Initiatives
Initiatives & Commitments
Conservation and Markets Initiatives
Feeding humanity in 2050 — when the world’s population is expected to be between nine and 10 billion — will require a 70 percent increase in global food production. The Conservation and Markets Initiative was created to align conservation-minded approaches to feeding a hungry planet.
Designing a health learning system for patient care
Program Milestones
Designing a health learning system for patient care
The foundation funded several partners who set out to improve the current patient registry system for people with serious illness, bringing clarity to the field regarding data collection with the goal of developing a system that works for, and with, the patient.
Learn Foundation Law
Foundation
Learn Foundation Law
Meet Maya, your host for online, web-based trainings on legal issues in grantmaking. The Moore Foundation, David and Lucille Packard Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation developed this first-of-its-kind, free resource for the philanthropic sector.
Support for struggling wildlife in Sonoma County
Program Milestones
Support for struggling wildlife in Sonoma County
The foundation announced a $2.1 million grant to the Sonoma Land Trust, extending a wildlife management project in the region, including extending a network of motion-sensitive cameras to track exactly which animals are going where.
2015
Marine Planning Partnership Signing
Program Milestones
Marine Planning Partnership Signing
Protecting nearly 40,000 square miles of coastal waters, 18 First Nations governments and the British Columbia Province signed marine plans for the northern coast of British Columbia. The Marine Planning Partnership plans established ecosystem-based management to conserve critical marine ecosystems and sustain the coastal communities whose culture and economies depend on them.
Discovery of the Weyl fermion
Program Milestones
Discovery of the Weyl fermion
The discovery of the Weyl fermion, a massless particle proposed to be a building block of other subatomic particles, is named a Top Ten Breakthrough by Physics World magazine.
Expansion of OpenNotes movement
Program Milestones
Expansion of OpenNotes movement
To spread access to clinicial notes through the OpenNotes movement, the Moore Foundation partners with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Peterson Center on Healthcare and Cambia Health Foundation.
$3 billion given
Foundation
$3 billion given
A portfolio of grants totaling $8 million supporting more than 100 scientists at 33 institutions globally to accelerate development of experimental model systems in marine microbial ecology sent us over the mark for our $3 billion payout.
Statement of Founders' Intent
Foundation
Statement of Founders' Intent
Gordon and Betty Moore set down in writing their hopes and expectations for the foundation into the future. In May 2015, Gordon sat down with foundation president, Harvey Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., to discuss the thinking behind their words.
Kashia Coastal Reserve
Program Milestones
Kashia Coastal Reserve
688 acres of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians’ traditional lands on the Sonoma Coast were transferred back to the tribe, with a mile-long trail on the bluff planned for public access to the expansive coastal views thanks to a deal orchestrated by the Trust for Public Land and other private and public agencies, supported in part by Moore.
2014
Watershed year for ARPA
Program Milestones
Watershed year for ARPA
The Amazon Region Protected Areas programme launched in 2002 to conserve 15 percent of the Brazilian Amazon. In aggregate, that vast expanse is more than three times the size of the U.S. national parks system. In 2014, the Brazilian government, World Wildlife Fund and partners announced the creation of a $215 million fund to ensure long-term financing of the world’s largest network of protected areas – 150 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.
Sustainable farmed salmon in British Columbia
Program Milestones
Sustainable farmed salmon in British Columbia
The ‘Namgis First Nation’s Kuterra Project created a land-based closed containment farm on Northern Vancouver Island and began selling their first harvest. Soon they averaged five metric tons each week. Within a few months, Kuterra’s salmon won awards from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise and SeaChoice.
The $1 microscope
Program Milestones
The $1 microscope
21st Century Chemistry Set winner, Manu Prakash, launches Foldscope, a one-dollar origami-based paper microscope that aims to democratize science education.
Roadmap for Patient and Family Engagement
Program Milestones
Roadmap for Patient and Family Engagement
The first unifying Roadmap on Patient + Family Engagement in Health Care is created and charts specific actions that can be taken to partner with patients and their families to improve how care is delivered, including into the organizational design, governance and policy making for health care.
Wildlife Corridor along Laurel Curve
Program Milestones
Wildlife Corridor along Laurel Curve
Santa Cruz's Highway 17 severs the surrounding woodlands, creating a divide that has proven lethal to the area’s long-ranging wildlife. The foundation awarded a grant and matching program-related investment to help acquire a keystone 280-acre property along the highway’s “Laurel Curve” for the construction of an under-crossing tunnel that will be vital to wildlife in Santa Cruz County, including the region’s mountain lions.
2013
Forest mapping tools
Program Milestones
Forest mapping tools
Two free online mapping tools put powerful new information into the hands of scientists, resource managers, decision makers and civil society. Created in part through funding for the University of Maryland Department of Geographical Sciences and Carnegie Institution for Science, the online tools—a global forest change map powered by Google Earth Engine and CLASlite Classroom—empowered governments, NGOs and researchers to monitor the scale and causes of deforestation around the world.
21st century chemistry set
Program Milestones
21st century chemistry set
The Society for Science & the Public and the Moore Foundation announce SPARK (Science Play and Research Kit), a national competition to reimagine the chemistry set for the 21st century
Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems
Initiatives & Commitments
Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems
We established the Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) Initiative as an integrated research program in quantum materials that includes materials synthesis, experiment and theory, and that crosses the boundaries among physics, chemistry and materials science.
Quality and Safety Education for Nurses
Program Milestones
Quality and Safety Education for Nurses
All schools of nursing in the San Francisco Bay Area incorporated the national Quality and Safety Education for Nurses in their curricula.
Preservation Ranch
Program Milestones
Preservation Ranch
Representing the largest conservation land deal in California history at the time, the acquisition of the 19,645-acre Preservation Ranch in Sonoma County prevented land conversion to vineyards and residential parcels.
2012
Marine Stewardship Council certification
Program Milestones
Marine Stewardship Council certification
The Marine Stewardship Council certified The Ozernaya River sockeye salmon fishery as sustainable and well managed. The first in this region, the certification was based on an independent assessment of the status of the targeted stocks, the impacts on the marine ecosystem and the management system governing the fishery.
Helped create Science Philanthropy Alliance
Program Milestones
Helped create Science Philanthropy Alliance
The Moore Foundation hosts the launch of a new alliance aimed at increasing philanthropic support for basic scientific research. In 2013, this becomes the Science Philanthropy Alliance, the first organization in any sector of philanthropy in which private funders have joined together to increase overall giving in that sector.
Data-Driven Discovery Launch
Initiatives & Commitments
Data-Driven Discovery Launch
In 2012 when we began work in data-driven discovery, there was limited awareness of data science and its application to basic scientific research. By investing in this area at an early stage, we helped researchers apply data science to their work and generated broader use of data science in the natural sciences across the country.
Gordon and Betty Moore sign the Giving Pledge
Foundation
Gordon and Betty Moore sign the Giving Pledge
Gordon and Betty Moore join the Giving Pledge. They wrote: "In 2001 we created a foundation with half of our wealth. Our foundation is committed to creating positive outcomes for future generations in Environmental Conservation, Science, and Patient Care. We also support land conservation and science museums in the San Francisco Bay Area. We strive to achieve measurable outcomes on important issues in these areas, and we believe in taking risks in order to innovate and learn. We are pleased to be part of the Giving Pledge."
The Tech and the SMART Museum
Program Milestones
The Tech and the SMART Museum
The Tech Museum of San Jose launched its inventive SMART Museum initiative to track visitor engagement, personalize visits and extend the learning experience.
2011
Taku Atlin Land Use Plan
Program Milestones
Taku Atlin Land Use Plan
Taku River Tlingit First Nation and government of British Columbia agree to the Taku/Atlin Land Use Plan, conserving 3,000 square miles and committing to new shared decision-making governance arrangements over the entire Taku wild salmon watershed.
Expanding knowledge of plant science
Program Milestones
Expanding knowledge of plant science
Boosting fundamental plant science, the Moore Foundation joins with Howard Hughes Medical Institute to fund research on wheat, maize, tomato, Arabidopsis, moss and algae.
$2 billion given
Foundation
$2 billion given
A payment to World Wildlife Fund for continued work on Kamchatka salmon fisheries marked our $2 billion payout.
2010
U.S. National Ocean Policy
Program Milestones
U.S. National Ocean Policy
President Obama creates the first National Ocean Policy for the U.S., with a goal of promoting and maintaining resilient, productive coastal and marine ecosystems. This action was welcome news to our grantees and other stakeholders working on comprehensive ocean planning efforts.
CA Council of Science and Technology Fellows
Program Milestones
CA Council of Science and Technology Fellows
California Council of Science and Technology Fellows program launches. The first ten Ph.D. (or equivalent) scientists and engineers are placed as staffers to legislative offices or committees to inform the development of science and technology policy.
Santa Cruz Puma Project
Program Milestones
Santa Cruz Puma Project
Using scientific data on fragmentation impacts and a new wildlife collar, the Santa Cruz Puma Project studied the effects of habitat fragmentation in the San Francisco Bay Area on mountain lions. Evidence shows that human presence not only changes the way top predators behave, but also impacts other species and the interrelationships among them.
2009
UNESCO Marine Spatial Planning Guide
Program Milestones
UNESCO Marine Spatial Planning Guide
UNESCO published a step-by-step guide to ecosystem-based management for the oceans.
Inside a drop of seawater
Program Milestones
Inside a drop of seawater
A team led by Dr. Farooq Azam at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography uses advanced imaging techniques to visualize a completely new kind of transparent particle that collect microbes in the ocean. These findings have important implications for carbon storage in the deep sea.
Sepsis reduction program saves 1,400+ lives
Program Milestones
Sepsis reduction program saves 1,400+ lives
Kaiser Permanente in Northern California developed an innovative program to screen and reliably provide effective treatments to hospital patients identified at risk for sepsis. The implementation reduced mortality in hospitals by more than 40 percent — and saved more than 1,400 lives.
Move to Palo Alto
Foundation
Move to Palo Alto
Our LEED® Platinum headquarters in Palo Alto embeds the concept of sustainable design into every facet – from the building materials selected to the use of lighting to the landscaping that surrounds us. We earned the 2010 AIA Santa Clara Valley Merit Award and the 2009 San Jose Business Journal Green Project of the Year – Private.
2008
Skeena watershed
Program Milestones
Skeena watershed
The Skeena watershed is an important wild salmon habitat. A large and diverse coalition, including First Nations, communities, recreation groups, fishing sectors, and conservation organizations, formed to address decision-making around resource development. Their collaborative efforts have resulted in more precautionary and selective salmon fisheries, and the deferral of industrial activities such as salmon farming and natural gas fracking in important wild salmon habitat.
BaySci Professional Development Program
Program Milestones
BaySci Professional Development Program
To strengthen the implementation of inquiry-based elementary science instruction in the Bay Area, the Lawrence Hall of Science and the Exploratorium partnered to develop and launch the BaySci Professional Development Program .
2007
Scientific data guides salmon management
Program Milestones
Scientific data guides salmon management
The University of Montana provides unprecedented analysis of satellite data on the physical attributes for all major watersheds in Alaska and British Columbia. This analysis provides critical information to inform salmon management.
Global ocean sampling expedition
Program Milestones
Global ocean sampling expedition
The J. Craig Venter Institute expands the known protein universe and develops bioinformatics methods to analyze and manage vast amounts of genetic data. This new sequence data helps shed light on the distribution of microbes in the ocean.
Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
Program Milestones
Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
$100M commitment for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, the nation's largest grant in nursing education and the largest philanthropic gift in UC Davis history.
$1 billion given
Foundation
$1 billion given
We reached our first $1 billion payout with a grant to Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop methods to sequence marine viruses and create unique, freely available virus sequence datasets from diverse ocean habitats such as deep-sea sediments, the surface ocean and Arctic sea ice.
2006
Great Bear Rainforest
Program Milestones
Great Bear Rainforest
A first-of-its-kind collaboration among environmental organizations, industry, First Nations leaders, and the Canadian government aimed at enhancing conservation and economic diversification in a region on the central coast of British Columbia: the “Great Bear Rainforest." At the heart of this collaboration was an innovative proposal, first announced in February 2006, to provide long-term financing for conservation management and sustainable economic development in exchange for substantially increased habitat protection.
Instrumentation for in situ cell sorting, identification
Program Milestones
Instrumentation for in situ cell sorting, identification
Dr. Heidi Sosik at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution develops a first-of-a-kind instrument for imaging and sorting individual phytoplankton cells directly underwater by adapting a technique from the biomedical field. This instrument offers unprecedented resolution of marine microbial populations without having to rely on expensive research cruises.
Bay Area Patient Safety Collaborative
Program Milestones
Bay Area Patient Safety Collaborative
BEACON, a Bay Area Patient Safety Collaborative, launches to facilitate peer-to-peer sharing about patient safety and quality improvement efforts in all Bay Area hospitals.
Wildlake Ranch
Program Milestones
Wildlake Ranch
To conserve land in the Howell Mountains east of Calistoga, the Land Trust of Napa County acquired the 3,045-acre Wildlake Ranch Property and created property management and monitoring plans.
2005
Conservation in Brazil’s state of Pará
Program Milestones
Conservation in Brazil’s state of Pará
Brazil created two large protected areas in the eastern Amazonian state of Pará, totaling 3.8 million hectares. The Terra do Meio Ecological Station and Serra do Pardo National Park protect an area roughly twice the size of Massachusetts.
Marine bacteria sequenced
Program Milestones
Marine bacteria sequenced
The J. Craig Venter Institute sequences and characterizes the genomes of 177 marine microbes, contributed by researchers worldwide to cover major marine microbe categories. These data also greatly enhance capability to study snippets of DNA sequenced directly from the ocean and advance one of the most powerful tools for the field: metagenomics.
Integrated Nurse Leadership Program
Program Milestones
Integrated Nurse Leadership Program
Integrated Nurse Leadership Program, a curriculum that addresses frontline practitioners' leadership and change management skills, improves medication administration processes and results in earlier identification and treatment of sepsis implemented at UCSF. Outcomes included a 88 percent reduction in medication administration errors at six Bay Area hospitals.
Jenner Headlands
Program Milestones
Jenner Headlands
The 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands parcel next to Sonoma Coast State Park was preserved through a public-private partnership including Sonoma Land Trust, the District, California Coastal Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Moore Foundation, with additional acquisition funding pledged from the US Forest Service.
2004
Kol River Salmon Refuge
Program Milestones
Kol River Salmon Refuge
Russia authorized the creation of the 544,000-acre Kol River Salmon Refuge, through concerted work by the Wild Salmon Center, a variety of partners, and the Governor of the Kamchatka Regional Administration. The refuge is on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, source of an estimated 18 percent of North Pacific salmon, or some 89 million fish every year.
Launch of Marine Conservation Initiative
Initiatives & Commitments
Launch of Marine Conservation Initiative
The ocean is a mysterious, productive frontier. For millennia, it has sustained us with food, economic opportunities and recreation. Since 2004, we have been working to achieve healthy and resilient marine ecosystems in the United States and Canada through our Marine Conservation Initiative.
Barcode of Life
Program Milestones
Barcode of Life
DNA “barcoding” is developed and extended as a tool for species identification. Barcoding uses a short genetic sequence from a standard part of the genome, in the same way a checkout scanner distinguishes products using the black stripes of the Universal Product Code (UPC).
Creation of Marine Microbiology Initiatve
Initiatives & Commitments
Creation of Marine Microbiology Initiatve
Microbes in the ocean produce half of the oxygen on the planet and remove vast amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere. Yet, we have known surprisingly little about these microscopic organisms. Since 2004, the Marine Microbiology Initiative has aimed to gain a comprehensive understanding of marine microbial communities, including their diversity, functions and behaviors; their ecological roles; and their origins and evolution.
Accelerated Doctoral Program in nursing
Program Milestones
Accelerated Doctoral Program in nursing
The nation's first accelerated doctoral nursing program implemented at UCSF. The three-year program was designed to increase the number of faculty positions to enable enrolling more nurse students to help address the severe nursing shortage, and was later replicated across the country.
Expanding Techbridge
Program Milestones
Expanding Techbridge
Chabot Space & Science Center’s Techbridge, an after-school and summer program designed to promote science, technology, mathematics, and engineering among young women, was first funded by Moore in 2004. Since then, Techbridge has increased the number of girls served and extended depth of contact through selective additions of pipeline schools at the elementary and high school levels. In addition, foundation funding enabled Techbridge to bring its program to national partners.
2003
Public Library of Science
Program Milestones
Public Library of Science
Public Library of Science was established to develop online publications to make scientific and medical literature a public resource. In 2010, PLoS becomes self-sustaining and establishes first open access journal, PLoS ONE.
TMT commitment
Initiatives & Commitments
TMT commitment
In 2002, the first grant from our Science Program went to the University of California, Santa Cruz for the creation of the Adaptive Optics Laboratory. Adaptive optics sharpen the vision of ground-based telescopes by removing the blurring effects of turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere. This grant helped to improve the instrumentation for adaptive optics and ultimately made the design of the Thirty Meter Telescope possible.
Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative Launch
Initiatives & Commitments
Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative Launch
Registered nurses are not only caregivers, but also scientists, leaders and educators. In 2003, the Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative was created to focus on the role nurses play in improving patient care.
Creation of Andes-Amazon Inititaive
Initiatives & Commitments
Creation of Andes-Amazon Inititaive
Spanning eight countries and one territory, the Amazon—Earth’s largest remaining rainforest—stretches from the eastern slopes of the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean. It provides one-fifth of the world’s fresh water, and its forests help mitigate global climate change. Since 2001, the foundation has helped conserve over 170 million hectares in the Amazon - an area more than four times the size of California.
Cargill Salt Ponds
Program Milestones
Cargill Salt Ponds
A public-private partnership formed to purchase and plan for the stewardship of 16,596 acres of salt-producing land at the southern edge of San Francisco Bay. The South Bay Salt Ponds became a national model for wetlands and wildlife habitat restoration.
2002
Tumucumaque Mountains National Park
Program Milestones
Tumucumaque Mountains National Park
Brazil declared four million hectares in the mountains of Amapá a national park. Larger than Belgium, Tumucumaque National Park is home to an estimated 42 percent of lizards, 31 percent of birds and 12 percent of all primates known to exist in the entire Brazilian Amazon.
Keck adaptive optics
Program Milestones
Keck adaptive optics
The Laboratory for Adaptive Optics at UC Santa Cruz achieves several important milestones in the development of next-generation adaptive optics technology for the Keck Observatory. This technology corrects for the effect of atmospheric blurring, increasing the sensitivity and sharpness of astronomical images.
Caltech Commitment
Initiatives & Commitments
Caltech Commitment
We made a $300 million commitment to support Caltech and advance its position at the forefront of higher education, technological development and scientific research.
Wild Salmon Ecosystems Initiative launch
Initiatives & Commitments
Wild Salmon Ecosystems Initiative launch
Salmon play a critical ecological role throughout their life-cycle: from the streams where they hatch, to estuaries, to the open ocean, and back to their native streams where they spawn and die. And they are vital to the commercial and cultural lives of the communities that depend upon them. From 2001 to 2017, the Moore Foundation awarded grants to support work with partners across the North Pacific to ensure that these salmon ecosystems remain healthy.
2001
deliver an endowment
Foundation
The Moores deliver an endowment
Gordon Moore hands a manila envelope holding 175 million shares of Intel stock — source of the funding for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s endowment — to Alice Ruth, the foundation’s first chief investment officer.
First Office
Foundation
First office
The Moore Foundation opened its office in the Presidio of San Francisco. The foundation was one of the early tenants as the Presidio converted from a military base to a first-of-its-kind public-private trust to conserve the parklands and historic buildings.
conservation international
Initiatives & Commitments
Conservation International Commitment
With a ten-year commitment for up to $261 million, the foundation supported the work of Conservation International to identify and conserve large wilderness areas and biodiversity hotspots. At the time, it was one of the largest philanthropic commitments ever given to an environmental group.
saving
Program Milestones
Saving the Endangered Coast
Peninsula Open Space Trust launched a $200 million, three-year “Saving the Endangered Coast” effort, at the time the largest campaign by a local land trust. With a $50 million boost from the Moore Foundation, the campaign ultimately conserved more than 10,000 acres in California's rural San Mateo County.
2000
Gordon and Betty Moore
foundation
Establishing the foundation

Financials and Grantmaking

The foundation was established to function in perpetuity, or as long as its resources remain sufficient to make a significant difference. In 2001, we started with 175 million shares of Intel stock. As of December 31, 2020, the endowment grew to an estimated $8 billion. Over the course of those years, the foundation gave more than $4.5 billion through grants and other charitable activities.

Grants Paid by Program (year-by-year)

Grants Paid by Program (cumulative)

Grants Paid by Program (cumulative)

Grants Approved (cumulative)

Data details

Endowment Value and Spending

See more financial information on moore.org