…And paid by whom to whom?
[Update 8/3: corrections and new info on the charts.]
There are interesting financial and human resource relationships between The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as a whole; Hawai’i’s Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) and Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR); the University of Hawai’i (UH); and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). All are beholden to The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF), a major force in the world of philanthropy.
Gorden Moore made his money as a co-founder of both Intel Corporation and Fairchild Superconductor. (Intel and Fairchild each have their own Superfund Clean-up Sites.) Wikipedia says his fortune is estimated at $10.4 billion as of April 2019. In 2000, the Moores established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with a gift of about $5 billion.
Using Strategic Philanthropy to Influence Decision-Making?
Question: Could the Moore Foundation influence public sector decision makers to support a very expensive pet project, the TMT, by making seemingly unrelated grants to other organizations and projects?
Answer: It seems very possible, based on the information in this blog. If nothing else, it bears looking into.
Major Donors Get What They Want
A word about major donors–if you’re an organization seeking funding, you don’t want to cross them. Instead, board members and fundraising staff “cultivate” major donors for as long as they possibly can. As the “third sector,” philanthropic organizations promote themselves more altruistic than the private sector but can be just as…determined…about achieving their organizational agendas.
The Moore Foundation is an extremely generous and consistent major donor to The Nature Conservancy and has been for many years. Even if they are not directly involved in a project funded by GBMF, employees at The Nature Conservancy are well aware of the Moore Foundation and other major donors who keep their projects funded and offices open. (GBMF usually gives to projects. Without projects, TNC has no reason to exist.
The Moore Foundation has a similar relationship with the University of Hawai’i, making multiple large donations every year since 2004. The Moore Foundation also provides the bulk of the funding for the Thirty Meter Telescope (via CalTech and University of California).
Just for fun, here’s a link to a timeline of legal actions against the TMT since 2011.
Sources for the numbers below are the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation website, including their tax returns, press releases, and project descriptions. Also bios on the HI DLNR website and Linked In profiles.