|Intel Co-Founder Gordon Moore has Deep Historical Family Roots in Northern California|
Although California's art and cultural institutions have struggled under the weight of Sacramento's budgetary woes, one Bay Area museum has turned the corner, obtaining significant financial support for capital improvements and cultural programming from the non-profit foundation set up by legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel. Mr. Moore's family roots in Northern California go back to 1847.
This week, the trustees of the San Mateo County History Museum are announcing a gift of $1.1 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore foundation and a concurrent gift of $500,000 from Umang and Ruth Gupta.
These two grants will enable the San Mateo County History Museum, located in the historic, 1910 county courthouse, to complete their $12 million capital campaign launched in Fall, 2003. The gift from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is the single largest private gift the Historical Association has received to date. The two gifts leave the institution with only $2.8 million to complete their campaign drive.
According to Mitch Postel, president of the San Mateo County History Museum, the funds make it possible to complete renovations of interior and exterior portions of the historic courthouse building. The courthouse (where Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor began her professional career as Deputy County Attorney in 1952) boasts two of the nation's largest and most intricately designed stained-glass domes in a civic or public building west of the Mississippi. (Note to Press: Emeryville-based Reflection Studios will allow reporters on-site to view ongoing restoration of the domes.)
The capital campaign will also finance the creation of three new permanent museum exhibits, entitled "Entrepreneurs From Around the World," "Immigrants From Around the World," and "No Place Like Home." These three exhibits will be joining the existing "Nature's Bounty," and "Journey to Work."
"San Mateo County was the first rail suburb created in California," said Mitch Postel. "It is the quintessential California suburb by any measure, from the Gold Rush days to the founding of Silicon Valley. Once you understand San Mateo's history, you have a much better sense of why the romance and mythology of California continues to dominate the world's imagination."
Postel continued, "I believe that the story of San Mateo County is embodied in the personal stories of our entrepreneurs and immigrants." The Moore grant was, in part, inspired by the history of the Moore family, who came to California in 1847 before the Gold Rush in covered wagons and became one of the founding families of Pescadero. Gordon Moore's father, Walter Moore was a San Mateo County sheriff and served as bailiff in Courtroom "A" of the Old Courthouse. Gordon Moore went on to become the co-founder of Intel Corporation in 1968 and along with authoring "Moore's Law," the famous theorem predicting rates of technological developments within the computing industry, launched the start of the microcomputer revolution.
As a philanthropist, Moore has few peers. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, has an endowment of roughly $5 billion in assets (matched only by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). Locally, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has taken its place along with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as one of the three largest grant-making foundations in the Bay Area.
Umang Gupta, CEO of Keynote Systems and a member of the Historical Association's board of directors, and his wife Ruth Gupta were both born abroad and their donation will help create the new gallery "Immigrants From Around the World." "We made this gift because we believe in the direction the museum is taking," said Umang Gupta. "The museum will tell the story of local people and events that have helped shape not just our County, but also the world. As first generation immigrants to America, my wife and I are especially pleased to support this gallery because we have had the privilege of putting down roots in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the United States. The stories of all of the immigrant groups who have and still are shaping our lives will be told in this important gallery."
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation funds outcome-based projects that will measurably improve the quality of life by creating positive outcomes for future generations. Grantmaking is concentrated in initiatives that support the Foundation's principal areas of concern: environmental conservation, science, higher education, and the San Francisco Bay Area.