Steven J. McCormick, the president and a trustee of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, leads the Foundation’s work to turn bold ideas into lasting change in environmental conservation, science and patient care. With an endowment of over $5 billion in assets and an annual budget of approximately $250 million, the Foundation is among the top ten largest private foundations in the U.S. and one of the largest funders of scientific research and environmental conservation in the world.
Since taking leadership of the Foundation in 2007, Steve has challenged and led the organization to take smart risks and seek new collaborations with partners in the public and private sector. For example, he has championed unusual partnerships like those the Foundation created among bankers and conservationists to conserve millions of acres of rainforests in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, Costa Rica and the Brazilian Amazon. Under his leadership, the Foundation has made bold investments in science, funding important research when others could not and mobilizing quickly to support projects like measuring the environmental impact of radiation released into the Pacific Ocean from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. Steve has also encouraged innovative partnerships in the healthcare sector, where the Foundation has helped 12 Northern California hospitals reduce sepsis mortality rates by 50 percent.
Steve’s career in the nonprofit sector provides the Foundation with important perspective on the relationships between grantees and the funders. Before joining the Foundation, he spent six years serving as the president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). As president, Steve led the organization into becoming a truly global enterprise, operating in 30 countries as well as every state in the U.S. During his tenure, he oversaw an operating budget of over $500 million and a highly distributed staff of over 3,000. Under Steve’s leadership, revenues from all sources increased significantly, hitting an all-time high of $1.2 billion in 2006.
Prior to his role as president and CEO of TNC, Steve was a founding partner of the Resources Law Group, a firm based in Sacramento which provides mediation and consulting services in land-use and natural resources law and policy, and creates innovative opportunities for conservation philanthropy.
Steve began his career with TNC in 1976 as western regional legal counsel and rose through the ranks to spend 16 years as executive director of the California state program. In that role, he led an organization-wide effort that created Conservation by Design, the strategic framework that now guides all of TNC’s work around the world.
A leader in the social innovation sector, Steve serves on the boards of Independent Sector, Sustainable Conservation and the California Wildlife Officers Foundation. He has also served on the U.C. Berkeley College of Natural Resources Advisory Board. Steve’s work has been profiled in Forbes, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Washington Post, and he has been a featured speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival and The Economist’s World Oceans Summit. Steve is also the recipient of the Chevron Conservation Award, the Edmund G. Brown Award for Environmental and Economic Balance, the John Pritzlaff Conservation Award and the California League of Conservation Voters’ Conservation Leadership Award.
Steve holds a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Berkeley (1973), where he graduated with honors, and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law (1976).