Celebrating those who change the world:
Fifteen years of impact

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We are here for the long term. In January 2015, when I joined the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation as its new president, we anticipated a period of transition. There would be new faces, expanded strategic directions and new areas of investigation. At each step, we had the great advantage of guidance from our founders. In 2015, Gordon and Betty Moore completed their Statement of Founders Intent. For all of us this year, the words of our founders have been a touchstone guiding our decisions and inspiring our actions — just as they have for the past 15 years.

Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D. President
Gordon and Harvey
Photo of Gordon and Betty Moore courtesy of Susanna Frohman, San Jose Mercury News.

The First 15

“We want the foundation to tackle large, important issues at scale where it can achieve significant and measurable impacts,” wrote Gordon and Betty Moore in their Statement of Founders’ Intent. As a grantmaking foundation, we are critically dependent on the individuals and organizations equipped to make that vision a reality. We are grateful that for the past 15 years, we have worked side-by-side with scientists, explorers, conservationists, fishermen, farmers, clinicians, patients and so many others, to enable breakthroughs with lasting benefits.
Photo of Mori Point courtesy of Mason Cummings

Our Timeline

Over the years, we have had the great fortune to be involved in some remarkable milestones. The inspiring work of our grantees and other partners has changed the course of scientific discovery, expanded global conservation efforts, improved the quality and safety of patient care and enhanced the Bay Area region. We are honored to have played a role in fostering these breakthroughs.

Geographic Reach

Gordon and Betty Moore established the foundation with the belief that their philanthropy could make a significant and positive impact on the world. The organization has invested heavily in the Americas, and always with an eye on global, and even universal, impact. Over the years, the impact of our work has touched each continent and ocean on earth. In addition, our interest in astronomy advances our understanding of the stars and beyond, unlocking the mysteries of the universe. The map below reveals a sampling of our projects in different parts of the world.

Guiding Principles

Our Vision

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Our Mission

We foster path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area.

Our Core Values

Reflecting the character and beliefs of Gordon and Betty Moore, the core values of impact, integrity, a disciplined approach and collaboration guide the work of the foundation.

Learn more

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, 2015, the endowment grew to $6.4 billion. Over the course of those years, the foundation gave more than $3 billion through grants and other charitable activities.
  • Endowment Value and Spending

    • Annual Spending
    • Year-End Value
  • Cumulative Grants Approved

  • GRANTS PAID BY PROGRAM (cumulative)

    Grand Total$3,119,721,183
  • GRANTS PAID BY PROGRAM (year-by-year)

  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Environment
  • Patient Care
  • Science
  • Other
(Data through December 31, 2015) View Financial Reports View Grants List

Our Programs

We focus our investments in areas that we believe we can make a difference. There are significant problems facing the world today and more will arise in the future. Many problems are of a scope and complexity too large for our foundation to take head on. Our program strategies are guided by a rigorous assessment that evaluates whether our capacity and resources can be a significant factor in bringing about measurable, durable solutions.


Program Overview

Our Science Program seeks to advance basic science through developing new technologies, supporting imaginative research scientists and creating new collaborations at the forefront of traditional scientific disciplines. Reflecting the beliefs of our founders, we focus on knowledge in emerging fields at a scale where our support can produce a significant and measurable impact.

Key Issues in Science

The Moore Foundation believes in the inherent value of science and treasures the child-like sense of wonder that comes from finding out how the world works. Basic scientific discovery and exploration also leads to benefits for society. So we take risks, and aim to advance understanding of emerging scientific fields by funding research to:

  • Increase our understanding of the world by asking new questions of scientists and field experts
  • Enable new science through advances in technology
  • Break down barriers and cultivate collaborations
  • Enhance society’s understanding of the joy of science
  • 0 total grants
  • $0+ Cumulative Amount Awarded in Grants (BILLIONS)
(Data through December 31, 2015)
Sossina Haile
Spotlight on Science:

Our commitment to Caltech

In 2002, the Moore Foundation committed $300 million in funding to the California Institute of Technology to advance Caltech’s position at the forefront of higher education, technological development and scientific research in the life and physical sciences. This funding has supported new research centers, specific research projects, acquisition and maintenance of new equipment and educational initiatives at Caltech.

The foundation’s commitment has had a significant and positive impact on Caltech, giving the institution an unprecedented ability to maintain and advance its position as a world leader in science and engineering. For example, a significant number of publications from research supported through the Caltech commitment are among the top one percent most cited in their field, suggesting this body of work contributed to groundbreaking discoveries in science and engineering.

Environmental Conservation

Program Overview

With our Environmental Conservation Program, our founders have asked us to find “pragmatic solutions that maintain the integrity of essential ecosystem functions while accommodating necessary development and other activity.” That pragmatism is manifest in our commitment to finding solutions that cultivate resilience and align conservation with social and economic incentives — often by bringing unlikely partners together. Across all the program’s different initiatives and approaches, our long-term goal is the conservation of Earth's most critical ecosystems.

Key issues in Environmental Conservation

With a charter to tackle large, important issues at the level needed to achieve significant and measurable impacts, we recognize that while healthy ecosystems are necessary to sustain us, they are also imperiled — especially in the face of burgeoning consumption from a growing human population. Our grantees and other partners have dedicated countless hours to establish indigenous lands and support their stewardship, create and manage protected areas, and address some of the most pervasive threats these areas face, including  exploitive resource extraction,  industrial-scale land-conversion,  unsustainable fish and shrimp-farming, and race-to-the-bottom fishing practices.

  • 0 total grants
  • $0+ Cumulative Amount Awarded in Grants (BILLIONS)
(Data through December 31, 2015)
Clark James Mishler and The Nature Conservancy
Spotlight on Environmental Conservation

Wild salmon of the North Pacific Rim

Since 2001, we have supported grantees to conserve the best remaining wild salmon ecosystems of the North Pacific Rim. From the streams where they hatch, to estuaries, to the open ocean, and back to their native streams where they spawn and die, wild salmon are a lynchpin species, vital to the commercial and cultural livelihoods of coastal communities in British Columbia, Alaska and Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. Over 15 years, our grantees and other partners have conserved large expanses of habitat in key watersheds, ensured sustainable management of salmon fisheries and promoted natural resource-use practices that help maintain healthy salmon systems. Ultimately, this work has helped set the stage to harmonize the needs of fish, people and ecosystems, making sure that wild salmon and the communities that depend on them continue to thrive, long into the future.

Patient Care

Program Overview

The Patient Care Program aims to improve the experience and outcomes people have with their care. Given the magnitude of challenges in health care, we seek opportunities where we can make a unique contribution that results in measurable improvements. In our first 15 years, we invested significantly in strategies to advance the nursing profession. Today, we are examining ways to improve the experience of serious illness care and continue to focus on improving patient safety.

Key Issues in Patient Care

Our work in the health sector originates from the interest and experiences of our co-founder, Betty Irene Moore. After personally experiencing the impact of medical errors, Betty saw an opportunity to improve the quality of care delivered in the San Francisco Bay Area. She wanted to focus on the training and education of nurses, who are on the front lines of care, and deliver 95 percent of the care patients receive. Our attention to quality improvement coincided with two critical reports issued by the Institute of Medicine, To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm, which called for a redesign of the nation’s health care system to improve the quality, safety and experience of patient care.

  • 0 total grants
  • $0+ Cumulative Amount Awarded in Grants (MILLIONS)
(Data through December 31, 2015)
Team consult
Spotlight on Patient Care

Advancing the profession of nursing

The Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative was a 12-year effort to improve the experience and outcomes of patient care in the San Francisco Bay and Greater Sacramento areas. The initiative focused on developing the leadership and quality improvement skills of RNs, while creating opportunities for them to apply these skills. The initiative supported all 53 adult acute care hospitals to implement evidence-based practices and improve outcomes across 17 patient safety improvement areas. We also supported all San Francisco Bay Area schools of nursing to include quality and safety education in their curriculum.

San Francisco Bay Area

Program Overview

Gordon and Betty Moore have spent most of their lives in the Bay Area. It is the place the Moore family has called “home” for generations. The region is world-renowned for its golden hills, a sparkling coastline and awe-inspiring redwood forests, along with some of the world’s leading science and technology institutions. Our foundation aims to preserve and enhance the special character of the Bay Area through focused efforts on conservation and informal science learning.

Key Issues in the Bay Area

Spurred by the growth of the Silicon Valley, the Bay Area is now home to more than 7 million people. Residents cherish a largely conserved coastline and more than 1.4 million acres of open space. We are also fortunate to have access to innovative science and technology museums that educate and inspire residents and visitors of all ages.

  • 0 total grants
  • $0+ Cumulative Amount Awarded in Grants (MILLIONS)
(Data through December 31, 2015)
The Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
Spotlight on the Bay Area

Preserving the special character of the place we call “home”

The Bay Area is home to the curious, fast-paced, innovation-embracing Silicon Valley and is a region that has long prioritized preservation of the coastline and open space for both the intrinsic beauty and the respite it offers from the bustle of daily life. Gordon and Betty Moore value both these characteristics and since 2001, work in our local region has been core to our efforts. We have supported local science and technology museums in their efforts to promote the wonders and importance of science and discovery. Together with other funders and land trusts, we have helped conserve and expand biodiversity, ecosystem services and nature-based recreation opportunities.

The Next 15

From the President

Forces in place today determine how the future is likely to unfold. And yet, while the future is most often an extension of the present, we can also anticipate occasional discontinuities, points of inflection that alter the course of history. We may not know exactly where, when, or how these arise, but their appearance at some moment in some way is a virtual certainty.

Some disruptions, as in natural disaster or armed conflict, create problems; other discontinuities, resulting from human innovation and technological advances, can create solutions. As society’s venture capital, private philanthropy is in a position to promote long-term solutions.

For 15 years, the Moore Foundation has been able to take risks and make relatively large, long-term commitments toward scientific discovery, environmental conservation, improvements in patient care and preserving the special character of the Bay Area. As conditions change in sometimes unexpected ways, we will adapt and respond, while remaining true to Gordon and Betty Moore’s mandate to promote important and lasting change.

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


Looking ahead, our science program will find ample opportunities to ignite new fields at the boundary between present understanding and the unknown. I foresee no shortage of mysteries to unravel.

Robert Kirshner, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, Science

Escalating consumption and development pressures are threatening to overwhelm the planet’s remaining high value, natural ecosystems. To make meaningful, lasting progress at the scale that’s needed and at the rate that's required, we’ll need to deploy a diversity of approaches to conservation — a diversity that reflects the complex and beautiful natural systems that sustain us.

Aileen Lee, J.D., Chief Program Officer, Environmental Conservation

In the U.S., the number of people with serious, chronic conditions is increasing due in large part to an aging population that is living longer. To help meet the demands of people with serious conditions, we are focusing on the development of community-based programs that will provide safe, effective care in the place where people most want it: their homes.

Janet Corrigan, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chief Program Officer, Patient Care

The San Francisco Bay Area, home to the foundation, has unique characteristics enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. In years to come, the foundation will continue to make focused investments that help preserve and strengthen the area’s special attributes, including its richly biodiverse habitat and vibrant informal science community.

Ken Moore, Chief Program Officer, Bay Area

Get Involved

Every day, we are inspired by the scientists, explorers, conservationists, fishermen, farmers, clinicians, patients and so many others, who are changing the world for the better. We are in awe of what they are able to accomplish. While these people are heroes to us, each of us has a bit of a hero within. While it may not seem like much, we can make choices that support efforts to create positive outcomes for future generations.

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