San Francisco, CA

Generous Bay Area Billionaire Who Planned to Give Away Fortune Passes Away

Ash Jurberg

Sad news this week with the passing of billionaire San Francisco philanthropist Gordon Moore.
Photo byWikiCommons Images

Earlier this year, I wrote about Gordon Moore, the San Francisco billionaire who wanted to give away his fortune.

Unfortunately, this week came the news that Gordon has passed away. So I thought it would be a good time to take once again a quick look at Gordon Moore and his incredible generosity.

The San Francisco billionaire giving away his fortune

Gordon Moore was born in San Francisco in 1929 and received a Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Berkley, in 1950. He then earned a Ph.D. from Caltech in 1954.

After completing his studies, he worked in research and development at several organizations before co-founding the semiconductor firm Intel in 1968. Intel has since become the world's largest semiconductor chip manufacturer by revenue and is the developer of the x86 series of microprocessors found in most personal computers.

The success of Intel led to Gordon Moore becoming a multi-billionaire.


In 2000, Moore and his wife launched the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Betty and I established the Foundation because we believe it can make a significant and positive impact in the world. We want the Foundation to tackle large, important issues at a scale where it can achieve significant and measurable impacts.

Each year it gives away over $300 million in grants focusing on environmental conservation, patient care, scientific research, and the San Francisco Bay area.

With respect to the Bay Area, we spent most of our lives here and want to help preserve the area’s special character. Even with a local geographic focus we still envision the same results-oriented strategic principles be applied in a regional context.

The list of million-dollar donations made by the Moores is very long, but I wanted to highlight a few below.

  • In 2001 $600 million was given to Caltech - the largest-ever donation to a university at the time.
  • In 2007, $100 million was pledged to create The Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative, targeting nursing care in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento.
  • In June, the Moore Foundation joined eight other groups to pledge $5 billion over ten years to support biodiversity. The commitment is to ensure that 30% of the planet is protected in the most important places for biodiversity by 2030.

Earlier this year, Forbes released a list of the 25 most generous people in the United States.

Seventh on the most generous list was Gordon and Betty Moore. The couple gave away $300 million in 2022, meaning they have given $1.8 billion to various organizations over their lifetime.

Moore certainly achieved a lot in his 94 years, and the people of San Francisco have benefited from his giving.

Your thoughts

What do you think of the generosity of the Moores? What other San Francisco and Bay Area organizations would you like the Moore Foundation to support?

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below and share this article with others so they can join the conversation.

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