Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation: Grants for Marine Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Moore Foundation is a well-known supporter of fishery management and habitat-protection initiatives across North America and the Pacific.  

IP TAKE: With a tremendous influence on this field, Moore has a deliberate strategy and is highly involved in grantee programs. Moore’s giving is highly targeted and supports proposals with measurable outcomes. Grantmaking is competitive, and applicants are advised to establish a relationship with the foundation.  The foundation prioritizes established and large organizations, but also supports small organizations. 

PROFILE: The Moore Foundation was launched in 2000 in San Francisco by the same Gordon Moore who had cofounded Intel and coined the famous “Moore’s Law” prediction of continuous exponential growth in computers’ processing speed. The foundation seeks to "foster path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements, and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area." According to the Moores, they created the foundation in order to "tackle large, important issues at a scale where it can achieve significant and measureable impacts. 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." Indeed, the foundation seeks "durable change, not simply delaying consequences for a short time." As a result, the Moores believe that the rigorous inquiry that guides science are keys to such change.   

Moore’s environmental conservation program aims to "[balance] long-term conservation with sustainable use. [The foundation] protect[s] critical ecosystems [...and] establish[es] models for collaboration that can be replicated and expanded around the globe." The foundation aims to create lasting change in "how land, freshwater and coastal marine ecosystems are managed." One of seven environmental initiatives, its Marine Conservation initiative aims to promote "healthy, sustainable marine ecosystems in North America." The initiative does so by focusing on overfishing and habitat degradation through specific strategies that focus on ocean planning and reforming fishing management. The foundation sets prioritizes the U.S. western coast, New England, and the Canadian province of British Columbia. Programs in Moore’s neighborhood, the San Francisco Bay area, will have a distinct advantage, as well. Recent grantees include Trout Unlimited for its nationwide fish restoration efforts; and the Coral Reef Alliance, a California organization, for research-and-development of better coral monitoring and protection methods.

Similarly, the Wild Salmon Ecosystems initiative, Moore’s other marine-specific subprogram, attends to the salmon populations of the northern Pacific. Grantees work with fisheries in Russia, Alaska and British Columbia to boost salmon numbers and set parameters for fishing while keeping the rivers where salmon spawn and feed free of pollutants and environmentally damaging industrial activity. Recent grantees include the Tides Canada Foundation, which secured $2.5 million to support the Taku Tlingit First Nation’s efforts to protect wild salmon. Moore has also supported the Environmental Defense Fund to spur improvements in fisheries in the United States.

The foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, but applicants may contact a member of the team and offer to submit a letter of inquiry. Moore prioritizes proposals that will result in "large positive benefit or avoidance of substantial negative consequences;" make a significant and enduring impact that could not be achieved without its support; offers measurable progress; and contributes to a portfolio effect. While the foundation funds both international and national organizations, it appears to prioritizes British Columbia and the Bay Area. In addition, it supports both small and large organizations; however, larger organizations often receive the majority of grants. Moore also has a very detailed database of grants given here.

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