Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation: Grants for Animals and Wildlife

OVERVIEW:  The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is focused on making big, lasting changes for the future in several areas. Although it doesn't have a program that focuses specifically on wildlife protection, it is one of the biggest funders of wildlife conservation groups through its broader work on environmental conservation.

IP TAKE: The foundation often makes grants to wildlife conservation programs and humane societies, but doesn't accept unsolicited proposals; however, it allows individuals to submit 100 word (or less) inquiries by email.

PROFILE: The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is only as old as the millennium itself—Intel co-founder and “Moore’s Law” originator Gordon Moore and his wife, Betty Moore, launched the foundation in 2000. This San Francisco-based institution has amassed a multi-billion personal fortune and a charitable-giving track record of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, more than half of which goes to environmental causes under its Environmental Conservation Program.

The awards can be quite large, often ranging in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions of dollars. Typically, the grantees are very large, too. The foundation looks for well-established organizations to support—groups like the American Bird Conservancy, to which it issued $560,000 to shore up protection of six key protected sites in the Andes-Amazon; establish a new reserve at the Misque River in Bolivia; and foster bird tourism and sustainable job creation to keep conservation in these areas going strong over the long term.

The foundation has a knack for making investments in projects that will generate a “return,” ecologically speaking, for many years to come. 

Of course, not all wildlife-conservation organizations have the resources and personnel to be a part of such an endeavor. So while the foundation's clear enthusiasm for defending wildlife would--in theory--open the door to many different kinds of wildlife-focused groups, the reality is that only a small number of groups have succeeded in securing funding from Moore. Generally speaking, this is a foundation that goes big rather than spread its funding around. So it's likely to be a long shot for most organizations working on wildlife conservation.

Furthermore, the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals. So the key to having any shot at all here is to cultivate the relationships that could lead to a grant invitation.