Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, has set up a $5bn foundation that will underwrite such things as scientific research, environmental protection and higher education.
Computer software and hardware pioneers are creating charitable foundations financed by their personal fortunes and now join the centre of the philanthropic world, long dominated by powerhouses such as the Ford, Rockefeller and Mellon foundations.
The Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation follows on the heels of the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Moore's long-time associate, Lewis Coleman, chairman of Bank of America Securities in San Francisco, will head up the new foundation. Coleman said the foundation would spend much of the next year hiring 50 to 100 employees. He expects it will grant money late next year.
Moore, best known for "Moore's Law" - his prediction that the number of transistors the industry could place on a computer chip would double every 18 to 24 months - said the foundation would not wait for proposals to roll in. He said one of its goals would be to fund scientific and medical research that might be deemed too risky for other organisations.
Two years ago, Moore and his wife donated $35m to Conservation International to create the Centre for Applied Biodiversity Science. And earlier this year, Moore joined other high-tech leaders in donating $12.5m to SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
Moore's personal fortune of $26bn ranked him fifth among the wealthiest US people in a survey conducted by Forbes magazine. It will take several years for Moore to transfer the $5bn from Intel stock into the foundation because of tax issues.
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