Moore Foundation

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The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is a powerful anti-development foundation created in California by Intel Corporation co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife Betty. The foundation is renowned for its $5 billion endowment and its huge grants for science, conservation and patient care as well as its generosity to the San Francisco Bay area’s cultural institutions. Yet scant attention is given to many of its “conservation” campaigns that regularly attack energy companies and skeptics of man-caused climate change.

Co-founder Gordon Earle Moore is world famous as a computer technology multi-billionaire, creator of “Moore’s Law” of technology, and a life-long environmentalist. He has said his conservation efforts are partly inspired by his interest in fishing, but his foundation has a record of awarding grants to zealous leftist environmental organizations hostile to logging, mining and other industries.

Moore had served for more than eight years on the board of directors of Conservation International, then incorporated the Moore Foundation in 2000. Two years later, his foundation gave Conservation International the largest gift in environmental history: $264 million in a series of grants to fight commercial operations, primarily affecting the Andes-Amazon Basin and marine fisheries. In 2002 he and Conservation International Senior Vice President Claude Gascon received the Order of the Golden Ark from His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld “for their outstanding contributions to nature conservation.” Although the Moore Foundation is best known as a science funder because of its endowment from Gordon’s Intel fortune, Inside Philanthropy called it “one of the leading funders of environmental conservation in the world.”

 

Political Connections

The foundation is also linked to Democratic politics and policy, with its leading figures moving in high-level Democratic political circles. In 2014, the foundation’s science program officer, Vicki Chandler, was named by President Barack Obama to the 25-member National Science Board, which sets policy for the National Science Foundation and advises Congress and the president on science and engineering.

In 2013, Moore’s Marine Conservation Initiative gave $659,238 to the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, where Dr. Sandra Whitehouse earned her PhD in biological oceanography and where she worked with what became its Coastal Resource Center, beneficiary of the grant. She is the wife of Rhode Island’s Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who launched the malicious campaign to prosecute climate skeptics.

Barry Gold, Moore’s Marine Conservation director who supervised the Coastal Resource Center’s huge grant, said: “We’re excited to see how CRC can leverage their local experience to help improve sustainable management of oceans around the globe.” The global emphasis is typical, but there is no mention that “sustainable management” programs commonly decimate fishing fleets with little or no ecological benefit.

 

Controversies

The Rigged Fossil Fuel War

In 2000, when the Moore Foundation opened for business, the 1999 “Battle of Seattle” riots in protest of the World Trade Organization and websites such as the now defunct Anti-Capitalist Convergence announced the emergence of the anti-fossil fuel campaign that morphed into part of the leftist climate change movement. Moore and its original crew had no interest in that campaign while they busied themselves with building the foundation. By June 2001 the foundation was ready to hire a seasoned businessman to serve as Chief Environment Program Officer and hired Harvard PhD, John M. “Mick” Seidl. Moore’s bio of Seidl noted that he was formerly “president of MAXXAM, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Aluminum Corporation and chairman of the Pacific Lumber Company.”

Seidl had a real but quiet interest in the anti-fossil fuel campaign, especially the well-disguised campaign of the 2003-minted Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), nominally “a coalition of the nation’s leading hunting, fishing, and conservation groups working together to guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish.” In fact, it was a coalition of fiercely anti-industry environmental groups, funded initially by $250,000 from ultra-liberal Ted Turner’s foundation and $50,000 from the left-supporting Surdna Foundation.

Seidl planned to leave the Moore Foundation in December 2004, and, as a final gesture, arranged an $800,000 grant to TRCP for payment in 2005:

Granting Foundation
City State
Recipient Name
City State
Giving Category Grant
Amount
Year
GORDON E AND BETTY I MOORE FOUNDATION
Palo Alto
California
THEODORE ROOSEVELT CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP
Washington
District of Columbia
Environment $800,000 2005

Source: Foundation Search

Moore’s now-expunged guilty purpose statement said the grant was “to change the current course of energy development on public lands”:

moore-foundation-profile-chart-4

Source: Moore Foundation 2005 IRS Form 990PF.

Since its beginning, TRCP had engaged in a campaign against oil and gas operations on federal lands. In 2006 the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s board elected Seidl as a director, according to the foundation’s Form 990PF.

Technically, Moore does not appear to have supported the anti-fossil fuel war. Yet it appears hypocritical that to this day, Moore, “one of the leading funders of environmental conservation in the world,” does not support foundations divesting shares of fossil fuel corporate stocks.

The Pebble Mine Campaign

One of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s most calculated “collective impact” grant-making campaigns in its history was the attack on the Alaska Pebble Mine. The controversy involved collusion between Environmental Protection Agency employees, numerous anti-mining activist groups, businesses, and the Moore Foundation to use the obscure Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to veto in advance any due process for Pebble to apply for an essential federal wetlands permit for the mine, even before a mine design, plan and permit application was submitted by Pebble.

The Pebble Project is located in Southwest Alaska on one of the largest deposits of copper, gold, molybdenum, and silver in the world. The mineral deposit lies on State of Alaska lands, not federal lands, in the Bristol Bay / Gulf of Alaska region adjoining the Aleutian Archipelago. By 2010, the Pebble Partnership (Anglo American, PLC, and Northern Dynasty Mines) had invested over $400 million for research, studies and field work on the fish, wildlife, geology and other area resources to prepare a responsible development plan. The project was in the pre-permitting stage, completing a pre-feasibility study, when Alaska anti-mining activists were contacted by Moore Foundation about some type of campaign to block the mine.

Steve McCormick, former president of the Moore Foundation, told an interviewer about the Environmental Conservation Program’s collective impact strategy. He did not give details such as the use of “sympathy exciters” such as Alaskan tribes, unemployed village workers, and poor seasonal fishing boat crews – but only touted anonymous “grassroots” groups working in tandem with powerful politicos, big name business leaders, Environmental Protection Agency employees, and exclusive hunting lodge owners around the proposed mine, as a key example. He said, “In 2010, the Moore Foundation offered Earthworks more than $500,000 to engage with the private sector over the proposed development of the mine. The mine is currently on hold, a victory for environmentalists.”

Granting Foundation
City State
Recipient Name
City State
Grant
Amount
Year Description
GORDON E AND BETTY I MOORE FOUNDATION
Palo Alto
California
EARTHWORKS
Washington
District of Columbia
$567,246 2010 To engage with the private sector around the proposed development of Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay.

Source: Foundation Search

McCormick did not mention Moore’s much larger anti-Pebble Mine grants two years earlier – in 2008 – using the “collective impact” strategy with three Anchorage, Alaska-based extreme preservationist organizations:

Granting Foundation
City State
Recipient Name
City State
Grant
Amount
Year Description
GORDON E AND BETTY I MOORE FOUNDATION
Palo Alto
California
ALASKA CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
Anchorage
Alaska
$1,100,721 2008 Pebble mine campaign coordination
GORDON E AND BETTY I MOORE FOUNDATION
Palo Alto
California
RENEWABLE RESOURCES COALITION
Anchorage
Alaska
$1,032,800 2008 Pebble mine education and outreach
GORDON E AND BETTY I MOORE FOUNDATION
Palo Alto
California
NATURE CONSERVANCY
Anchorage
Alaska
$624,000 2008 Pebble mine science and risk assessment

Source: Foundation Search

These simultaneous collective impact grants were based on insider knowledge and information provided by Environmental Protection Agency staff scientist and mine operation monitor, Phil North, who had been colluding with Anchorage environmental attorney Geoffrey Y. Parker. Parker was lead author of a 2008 law review article detailing a legal path to wrecking the Pebble Mine proposal, which was clearly the product of long research and preparation before 2008.

Parker cleverly took the legal path of representing six federally-recognized tribes in Southwest Alaska in petitioning the EPA to stop the mine, a request EPA could not ignore because recognized tribes are separate nations and receive privileged nation-to-nation diplomatic treatment.

With millions of dollars from several foundations – including $100,000 from Tiffany jewelry company’s fund, and with its CEO Michael Kowalski’s collaboration with Moore-funded Earthworks  – the largest targeted environmentalist campaign on record emerged around a non-existent mine.

The EPA moved with incredible speed to hold transparently rigged showcase hearings where dozens of tribal members and poor fishermen got 30 minutes or more each to weep over the non-existent mine, while a single Pebble representative got a strictly enforced 5 minutes to cite a few facts and the unfairness of their treatment. EPA then filed its veto of the mine, using its own interpretation of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. EPA had help with the highly technical petition that triggered its veto from their employee Phil North, who admitted editing and improving Parker’s original petition draft upon request for feedback, according to North’s Deposition taken before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on April 15, 2016.

That was the victory that Moore’s former president boasted over, but it didn’t last. Pebble pushed back and sued EPA in the U.S. District Court of Alaska. In November 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Russel Holland responded to Pebble Limited Partnership’s lawsuit with a preliminary injunction against EPA, ordering the agency to stop its attack. Holland’s ruling does not resolve Pebble Limited Partnership’s complaint that EPA pursued an unlawful, biased and predetermined outcome against it, but it does presume the company could prevail on the merits at trial and gives it time to make its case.

The headlines read, Judge Orders EPA to Stop Clandestine Anti-Mining Collusion. However, part of  Pebble’s case was dismissed, with a whitewash of EPA’s unprecedented veto. Another part of Pebble’s case was allowed to proceed pending EPA’s final ruling, which had not been released in mid-2016 and no deadline established. Pebble is not giving up in an extremely public controversy the Moore Foundation started in 2008 or earlier.

 

Climate Change Work

The Moore Foundation does not have a specific climate change grant-making program, but related grants are typically awarded through its Environmental Conservation program. In 2005, the Moore Foundation gave the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership an $800,000 grant “To change the current course of energy development on public lands.” In plain language, that referred to stopping all drilling for natural gas and oil on federal resource lands (they are not public). Petroleum development is made available by federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management in legitimate, permit-regulated federal leases to proven responsible bidders.

Moore did not evolve into a giant climate funder on the scale of the Hewlett and Packard foundations, but has made significant grants in the area. Between 2003 and 2013 it has given 86 climate grants totaling $27,637,72 to mostly anti-industry campaigns involved with climate change, according to the Foundation Search databank.

Moore is a member of the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA), a collaborative funding initiative that fights logging (“deforestation”) and agriculture (“soil depletion”) and their alleged “contribution to climate change”. Inside Philanthropy notes that “Moore’s contribution has hinged on protecting vast expanses of forest from being razed and thereby [hypothetically] adding to the buildup of carbon in the atmosphere. Specifically, Moore has funded efforts to allow the protection of international forests to be credited toward a state’s carbon reduction.”

 

A Sophisticated Strategy

The Moore Foundation’s environmental grantmaking is as advanced and high-tech as its founder’s multinational semiconductor circuit corporation. It multiplies its effectiveness by funding “collective impact,” which, according to Moore Foundation literature, “emphasizes cross-sector coordination on large complex problems.” The technical-sounding phrase was named the No. 2 buzzword of 2011 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The idea places emphasis on continued, ongoing cooperation among a large number of grantees. This strategy was labeled “networks for netwars” by RAND researchers analyzing complex flexible activist campaigns that use decentralized network structures. “Partnerships” for “collective impact” are a key focus for the Moore Foundation.

 

History & Background

Gordon Moore is co-founder of Intel Corporation and Chairman Emeritus of the Corporation’s Board of Directors. The Wikipedia entry is concise and accurate:

“Prior to Intel, Gordon co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. A California native, Moore earned his B.S. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Chemistry and Physics from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). In 1968 he co-founded Intel, serving initially as executive vice president. He became president and chief executive officer in 1975 and held that post until elected chairman and chief executive officer in 1979. In 1987 he relinquished the CEO title and was named chairman emeritus in 1997.”

Moore met his future wife, Betty Irene Whitaker, while attending San Jose State University. Gordon and Betty were married September 9, 1950. The couple have two sons, Kenneth and Steven. Gordon Moore has actively pursued any type of fishing, and has extensively traveled the world catching species from black marlin to rainbow trout.

 

Incorporation and Re-Incorporation

The Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation was incorporated on September 7, 2000 in San Francisco, California. However, the size of its endowment and plans for a large number of offshore investments soon made it necessary to reincorporate in a corporate haven state as a legal jurisdiction. The goal was to preserve California as its physical domicile, but gain the protective jurisdiction of Delaware – the pre-eminent corporate haven in the United States – while avoiding classification as a “foreign” (out-of-state) corporation by the California Secretary of State. The Moore Foundation “merged out” of existence in California into another business – but not completely. The name was the same, as was all the internal structure and purpose, but the jurisdiction was different. The details of the reincorporation are not known, but the California records are public, and clearly show the change of jurisdiction without explanation or classification as a “foreign corporation.”

 

The Moore Foundation’s original California Incorporation Record:

moore-foundation-profile-chart-1

The Moore Foundation’s California Incorporation Record With Delaware Jurisdiction:

moore-foundation-profile-chart-2

Source: California Secretary of State

The IRS granted the foundation charitable status in September 2001, shortly after the reincorporation. The utility of a corporate haven became more evident each year in the foundation’s Form 990PF. By 2005, Moore Foundation transferred and received large amounts of money in investments and dividend returns involving foreign (out of United States) corporations and partnerships. Its 213-page Form 990PF for 2005 held dozens of pages much like this report statement:

moore-foundation-profile-chart-3-jpg

 

The Moore Foundation’s heavy investment in offshore partner organizations and corporations has not become a controversy, but that may be only because of public unawareness. The foundation’s original mission statement of 2000 embodied the “collective impact” strategy: “The purpose of the Foundation is to form and invest in partnerships to achieve significant, lasting, and measurable results in environmental conservation, patient care, and science around the world and in the San Francisco Bay Area” (emphasis added). The foundation does not respond to unsolicited applications for funding; its grantmaking is totally prescriptive.

 

Recognizing Moore’s Positives

Gordon Moore received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from George W. Bush in 2002. He received the National Medal of Technology from President George H. W. Bush in 1990. He is currently (2016) the chairman of the executive committee for Conservation International.

Many of the Moore Foundation’s Science Program grants are laudable. On December 6, 2007, Gordon Moore and his wife donated $200 million to Caltech and the University of California for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, the world’s second largest optical telescope. The telescope will have a mirror 30 meters across and be built on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. This is nearly three times the size of the current record holder, the Large Binocular Telescope. In addition, through the Foundation, Betty Moore has created the Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative, targeting nursing care in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento. In 2009, the Moores received the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.
Source: Wikipedia entry.

 

Moore Foundation Interlocking Directorates

Bruce M. Alberts – trustee: also Carnegie Corporation of New York – trustee, Harvard University overseer, National Academy of Sciences – president, National Math and Science Initiative – director, University of California San Francisco – professor.

Rosina M. Bierbaum – trustee: also Climate Reality Project – director, Energy Foundation – director, Federation of American Scientists – vice chair, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology – member, University of Michigan – professor, Wildlife Conservation Society – trustee.

James C. Gaither – trustee: also Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – chairman and trustee, James Irvine Foundation – chairman, Levi Strauss & Co. – director, NVidia Corporation – director, Stanford University – chairman, Sutter Hill Ventures – managing director, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation – vice chairman.

John L. Hennessy – trustee: also Alphabet Inc. – director, Association of American Universities – director,

Cisco Systems, Inc. – director, Foundation Capital – investor, Google Inc. – director, Hoover Institution – overseer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers – investor, Sequoia Capital – investor, Stanford University – president.

Betty Moore – co-founder California Institute of Technology – honorary trustee, Giving Pledge – participant.

Gordon E. Moore – co-founder: also California Institute of Technology – life trustee,

Giving Pledge – participant, Intel Corporation – co-founder, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research – advisory board member.

Kenneth G. Moore – trustee (son of co-founders): California Institute of Technology – trustee

Kristen L. Moore – trustee (spouse of Kenneth):  Conservation International – director, Waterkeeper Alliance – board member.

Steven E. Moore – trustee (son of co-founders).

Kenneth F. Siebel – trustee: also Conservation International – director, Private Wealth Partners, LLC – chairman, Wood Island Associates – founder

Source: Muckety
Network Interactions
See the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Muckety Map for an interactive view of the foundation’s vast social network.

Influence

Paid JunketsSponsor of Congressional Travel 

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has paid $6,527 for 9 congressional staffers to travel to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Costa Rica. Eight trips were approved by Democrats ($5,850), one trip was approved by Republicans ($677).

Trips were approved by: Former Rep. Lloyd Doggett, (D-TX);  Former Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D-CA); Brian Baird, Former Rep. (D-WA); Former Sen. JimWebb, (D-VA); Sen. Patty Murray, (D-WA); Former Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-CA); Former Sen. Olympia Snowe, (R-ME); Former Sen. Ted Kaufman, (D-DE).

The official purposes for particular staffers’ travel:

“Attended a course at La Selva Biological Station on carbon sequestration in tropical forests and the role of tropical forests in combating climate change;”

“Participated in site visit to become more informed on international forest carbon policy;”

“Attended three-day workshop at La Selva Biological Field Station with lectures from scientists working on tropical forestry and Costa Rican government officials, followed by discussion sessions and ground truthing excercises;”

“To attend a course on reforestation as a means to reduce carbon dioxide levels;” and

“Attended course ‘International Forest Carbon Policy for U.S. Decision-Makers’ at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica; the course provided information on the scientific, economic and political concepts of reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation policies, and the ramifications of their implementation to the United States and the tropics.”

Source: Legistorm (paywall)

 

2014 Financials

  • Moore Foundation total assets: $ 6,559,384,939
  • Moore Foundation retained earnings and accumulated income, $ 6,500,574,466
  • Moore Foundation revenue per books: $ 423,750,268
  • Moore Foundation net investment income, $ 531,708,92l
  • Moore Foundation capital gain net income, $ 458,162,816
  • Moore Foundation grants paid, $ 220,687,713
  • Moore Foundation officers and directors compensation, $ 3,976,602
  • Moore Foundation employee compensation, $ 17,347,277

Source: IRS 2014 Form 990PF

 

Top 25 Moore Grant Recipients, 2000-2014

Grant Total: $2,591,207,025      # Grants: 5,334       # Recipients : 1,735

Recipient Number of Grants Total Amount
1.     CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION 94 $346,934,590
2.     WORLD WILDLIFE FUND 66 $73,611,952
3.     PENINSULA OPEN SPACE TRUST 4 $55,009,200
4.     TIDES CANADA FOUNDATION 62 $42,033,243
5.     WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY 38 $35,807,556
6.     ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND 33 $27,236,319
7.     NATURE CONSERVANCY 45 $22,202,443
8.     SONOMA LAND TRUST 17 $20,018,970
9.     WILD SALMON CENTER 32 $18,299,467
10.  ALASKA CONSERVATION FOUNDATION 23 $10,217,227
11.  AMAZON CONSERVATION TEAM 25 $9,688,414
12.  TROUT UNLIMITED 25 $9,273,261
13.  OCEAN CONSERVANCY 31 $9,269,500
14.  ECOTRUST 29 $9,245,783
15.  PACIFIC SALMON FOUNDATION 16 $8,223,140
16.  GREAT BEAR INITIATIVE SOCIETY 12 $7,297,598
17.  NATURE AND CULTURE INTERNATIONAL 14 $7,221,085
18.  INSTITUTO SOCIOAMBIENTAL 9 $6,665,727
19.  NAPA COUNTY LAND TRUST 5 $5,016,620
20.  ROUND RIVER CONSERVATION STUDIES 13 $4,845,000
21.  SAVE THE REDWOODS LEAGUE 5 $4,519,500
22.  INSTITUTO INTERNACIONAL DE EDUCACAO DO BRASIL 8 $4,087,992
23.  FUNDACAO DJALMA BATISTA 4 $3,607,063
24.  AMERICAN BIRD CONSERVANCY 6 $3,514,810
25.  INSTITUTO FLORESTA TROPICAL 7 $3,421,160

Source: Foundation Search