Success Story: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundationby SRP on November 3, 2023
In 2000, Intel founder Gordon Moore and his wife, Betty, established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which operates out of Stanford Research Park. Prior to formalizing their philanthropy, the couple had given dozens of gifts, most of which were anonymous. Through their foundation, they hoped to make the world a better place for generations to come. No doubt, thanks to their exceptional generosity, they have done just that. Since 2000, their foundation has donated more than $5.1 billion to causes and institutions of great significance to the couple.
Gordon’s legacy is familiar to untold numbers of people—even those who might have never heard his name. As co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, Gordon fundamentally changed computer technologies. He also became famous for Moore’s Law, his observation that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles about every two years.
The couple met at San Jose College, where Betty earned her BA in journalism. Despite their success and far-reaching influence—not to mention Gordon’s indelible mark on Silicon Valley—he and Betty never lost sight of their modest roots. Always aware of their good fortune, they shared a deep commitment to paying it forward.
After years of donations, most of them anonymous, the couple launched their foundation in 2000. The team, which has grown to 100 people, oversees an annual budget of $300 million. As a grant-making foundation, their efforts focus on four areas, each of which was born of personal meaning to Betty and Gordon: environmental conservation, scientific research, patient outcomes, and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area.
Equally as important to the founders as the areas of investment are the foundation’s guiding principles. Impact has always been of utmost importance to the founders and the team. Gordon and Betty were aware that the size of their foundation meant they could tackle massive and pressing problems—something they felt called to do. At the same time, they did not wish to waste resources or grantees’ time on problems they could not realistically solve. This mix of vision and integrity shapes the foundation’s ethos and has informed their approach to philanthropy that makes a genuine and measurable difference.
Gordon passed in March 2023. But at 1661 Page Mill Road, the legacy of the Moores lives on.