One month after pledging $600 million to Caltech, billionaire Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore has promised $261 million to a Washington-based conservation group.
Conservation International will use the funds in its efforts to identify and protect concentrations of biodiversity around the globe. It is the largest gift ever to a private environmental group.
In October, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announced a 10-year, $600-million gift to Caltech, the largest donation ever to an American university.
In deciding to expand his philanthropic activities to environmental causes, Moore said he was inspired by visits over the years to his favorite vacation spots in Mexico. According to its Web site, the foundation soon will move its headquarters to San Francisco.
"Places like Cabo San Lucas have become high-rise hotels and golf courses, not at all like it used to be," Moore said. "Just seeing how fast the changes were got me interested in the problem."
The gift, to be donated over 10 years, will help fund a global initiative based on the theory that conservationists can be most effective by targeting imperiled areas of the greatest biodiversity.
The money will help the group, which was founded in 1987, set up field stations in several at-risk areas, said Peter Seligmann, Conservation International's chief executive.
Moore, who serves as chairman of Conservation International's board of executives, and his wife contributed $35 million to set up Conservation International's Center for Applied Biodiversity Science in 1998.
Moore was chief executive of Intel from 1979 until 1987 and retired from its board in May. He is best known for "Moore's Law," his 1965 observation that computing power tended to double about every 18 months.
He and his wife created the foundation in November 2000, funding it with half of their Intel holdings.
"I've got more than I need," he said.
Times staff writer Richard Marosi contributed to this report.