Donor Profile: Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
Investing in Innovation
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation was looking to invest in innovation that was consistent with their programmatic objectives.
New business models. Outside the box thinking. Something that was risk taking, yet practical. Their 2011 search for an organization that fit these parameters turned up The Freshwater Trust.
Over the last four years, the foundation has made critical investments in support of the organization and its work to fix more rivers. In 2012, the foundation, along with two others, made a $5 million program related investment to foster the continued development of The Freshwater Trust’s water quality trading work. In 2015, the foundation awarded another $125,000 to help assess and prioritize potential conservation opportunities in California’s Russian River Basin.
“Their business model caught my attention,” said Winterson. “They thought about the financial and conservation implications of each action.”
By “they,” Dan means The Freshwater Trust’s staff, an aspect he says continues to impress him.
“These were conservationists, but they were also business focused and ambitious,” he said. “They were willing and eager to try something new and innovative even if it looked like it was going to be challenging.”
Thanks to support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Freshwater Trust has been able to take substantial steps toward applying programs and knowledge outside Oregon.
To Winterson, knowing what’s been achieved with the support given is a game changer.
“We are outcome focused, and The Freshwater Trust’s approach of ‘quantified conservation’ fits into our goal of always documenting and achieving measurable results,” he said. “That’s’ rare in conservation. They measure and quantify as opposed to estimate or extrapolate. And that is very valuable to us.”
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