Palo Alto, CA

Research Fellow, Environmental Conservation Program, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The Organization

Gordon and Betty Moore established the foundation to create positive outcomes for future generations. In pursuit of that vision, we foster path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Guided by this vision and the Statement of Founders’ Intent, each day we strive to make a significant and positive impact on the world. We tackle large, important issues at a scale where we believe we can make significant and measurable impacts. We know that our ability to take risks and make long-term and relatively large commitments allows us to undertake challenges not accessible to many other organizations.

Foundation facts:

  • Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA
  • $9+ billion in assets
  • Annual foundation budget of over $300 million
  • About 100 employees
  • Four program areas: Environmental Conservation, Science, Patient Care, and the San Francisco Bay Area

Working at Moore
We strive to make a real difference in our world today and for generations to come. Together, we work tirelessly to honor the vision of our founders and serve as stewards of the resources they entrusted to us. We establish specific strategies based on input from experts, identify partners who share our goals, and measure results along the way—all while making adjustments as needed. We build relationships and fund work in areas where we hope to make a significant impact. We’re okay with failing, as long as we learn from our mistakes. And we know that working together expands our ability to drive meaningful change.

Environmental Conservation Program

The vision of the Environmental Conservation Program is to secure the health of globally significant, intact natural ecosystems. This vision is rooted firmly in the Statement of Founders’ Intent, where Gordon and Betty Moore state, “Our interest in environmental conservation stems from our personal observations of changes in the natural world and from the dependency of all living species on the planet’s health…Huge areas of the planet are in danger of having their basic structure altered as a consequence of development and exploitation of resources.”

To pursue this vision, the Environmental Conservation Program works to safeguard globally significant, intact natural ecosystems from the unprecedented pressures of mounting development and a changing climate. We do this by working in an integrative manner on a portfolio of interventions that is focused enough to make a meaningful difference in a specific set of places, but also systemic enough to provide durability in the face of escalating threats and to catalyze a pathway to impact at a global scale: (1) An anchor set of land- and seascapes where we can win rather than “just losing slowly,” currently represented by our Andes Amazon and Marine Conservation Initiatives, and (2) A  suite of drivers of ecosystem degradation with highest relevance to those places, currently represented by the Conservation and Markets Initiative’s work on beef, soy, and seafood commodities.

In addition to these large-scale, long-term, targeted initiatives which represent the vast majority of the Program’s funding, we also invest thematically in innovative, high impact approaches to addressing conservation challenges.  In recent years, some of the themes supported include: behavioral science, conservation and technology, and the global nature action agenda.

In the next few years, the Program will be exploring opportunities to develop new place-based and/or thematic initiatives consistent with our overall vision for Environmental Conservation.

Position Overview

We are seeking a research fellow to work closely with the Chief Program Officer in order to support the Program’s thematic grantmaking, exploration of new opportunity areas, and overall field engagement.   The role is designed for a limited 24 month term, with a possible option to renew for another 12 months.

This position is based in Palo Alto, CA however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, foundation offices are temporarily closed until at least July 1, 2022, and work will initially occur remotely.  Once our offices reopen, the foundation will shift to hybrid work arrangements, and all employees will work a minimum of eight days per month in their designated office.

Key Responsibilities
Under the guidance of the Chief Program Officer, this newly created position will be a key partner in helping to support and shape the work of the Environmental Conservation Program outside of its existing long-term grantmaking initiatives. Specific responsibilities will include:

  1. Grantmaking support.  The fellow will take part in the Chief Program Officer’s discussions with prospective grantees about potential new grants.   Informed by those discussions, the fellow will help draft grant outcomes, monitoring plans, and summaries to be used as part of the Foundation’s grant submission and approval process.  They will work directly with the grantee to get the required information, supplementing it as necessary with independent research/analysis to strengthen the justification for the grant.   They will also help review and analyze grant reports.
  2. Support for exploration of new opportunities.  As the Program identifies potential new geographies and/or themes for further exploration, the fellow will conduct research and analysis that will help the Foundation assess the opportunity to make a difference in those arenas.  Working with the Chief Program Officer, the fellow will identify key questions to be answered about the opportunity through research/analysis, and will develop polished work products summarizing their findings.  The fellow’s work will likely involve some or all of the following:  landscape scans, literature reviews, interviews with subject matter experts, and convening of experts and advisors.
  3. Support for field engagement.  As part of advancing the goals of the Environmental Conservation Program, the Chief Program Officer maintains an active agenda of engagement with thought leaders, policymakers, and other key actors in the environmental conservation field.  Key elements of this work include developing donor collaborations, catalyzing public-private partnerships,  and shaping the output of important advisory groups.  The fellow will provide support to the Chief Program Officer around these engagements.  They will develop content to inform key discussions, support follow-up on action items, and participate in meetings along with the Chief Program Officer as appropriate.

Experience and Qualifications
The ideal candidate will have a combination of education and/or experience that gives them a good grounding in the broad trends, concepts, and issues relevant to the global environmental conservation space.  They will have demonstrated the research, analysis, and writing skills that allow them to thoughtfully examine specific conservation opportunities in-depth, and to present their findings in a compelling manner.  They will be at a stage in their career where they welcome the opportunity to grow their experience set by rolling-up their sleeves and diving deeply into a wide  range of new content areas across the conservation field, while gaining exposure to the workings of a major institutional philanthropy.

In addition to the qualifications above, our ideal candidate will bring:

  • Track record as a quick study who will be able to efficiently and thoroughly understand unfamiliar topic areas.
  • Comfort with ambiguity and willingness to be flexible and adaptable to changes in program priorities and needs.
  • Research and analysis skills to identify and rigorously evaluate new opportunities for investment and/or partnership.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Ability to synthetize and summarize complex topics into clear and accessible language.
  • Experience with meeting facilitation and planning.
  • A positive, energetic, “can-do” spirit.   Willing to roll-up their sleeves and dive into the work needed, and taking a proactive approach to doing what is necessary.
  • Works well both independently and as a collegial team member, challenges productively, and welcomes feedback.
  • Willingness to support and promote the foundation and colleagues through commitment to enhancing the foundation’s considerations of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Our ideal candidate will also demonstrate the following attributes that describe how we at the foundation strive to do our work with each other and our partners:

  • Committed to Excellence
  • Passionate
  • Collegial
  • Open and Honest
  • Humble and Self-Aware

Compensation and Benefits
Compensation includes a competitive base salary and an excellent package of health, retirement savings and other benefits.

How To Apply

To apply, please visit our careers page to submit your cover letter, resume and application.
Applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States.  Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the ordinance.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates for this search.  We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and welcome individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply.

All correspondence will remain confidential.

The Moore Foundation requires that all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, except as required by law. Any employment offer will be contingent upon satisfactory proof that you are fully vaccinated from COVID-19, subject to reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons, and/or as otherwise required by applicable law.

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