The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health honors the life and legacy of Betty Irene Moore, 95, who passed away on Tuesday. Patient families who have received cardiac care at our hospital will recognize her name, which lives on at the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center. Gordon Moore, her beloved husband of 72 years and founder of Intel, died this past March.
In 2017, the Moores established the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center with a $50 million gift, inspired by the life-saving surgery their grandchild received at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. That same year, The Chronicle of Philanthropy named Betty and Gordon Moore the most generous donors in California.
Their transformative gift came at a critical juncture for the Children’s Heart Center, when Executive Director Frank Hanley, MD, envisioned moving beyond treating congenital heart disease to discovering cures. The funding supported the Heart Center’s leading clinical programs and launched its Basic Science and Engineering Initiative—a one-of-a-kind research program that unites scientists and engineers around a shared goal: curing congenital heart disease.
“The two defining elements of our heart program are providing cutting-edge care for children with the most complex congenital heart diseases, and undertaking research that will one day allow us to cure these diseases,” said Dr. Hanley. “Our most important partners in both quests have been Betty and Gordon Moore. I speak for all our faculty and staff in voicing our heartfelt appreciation for their vision and generosity.”
Betty and Gordon Moore’s philanthropy came from their heads and their hearts. Motivated to “make the world a better place for their children and their children’s children,” they co-founded the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2000. During the launch, Betty called on her experience from 50 years prior, when she worked at the Ford Foundation, “enjoying a front-row view during the opening acts of one of the country’s largest private foundations.”
“I just feel that we have been very lucky in our lives,” Betty said, of her family’s philanthropy. “It’s conducive to wanting to help.”
Betty grew up in Los Gatos and was committed to the San Francisco Bay Area. The Moores began giving to Stanford in 1982, supporting the School of Engineering’s Center for Integrated Systems. Their 40 years of support unlocked key achievements in the physical sciences, engineering, and medicine at the university—including a device that quickly identifies the proteins in cells.
Their gifts to Packard Children’s Hospital embody two of their foundation’s mission pillars: pushing the boundaries of scientific research and improving patient care. Without their forward-thinking, patient-centered approach, we would not have four dedicated BASE scientists working to uncover the genetic cause of congenital heart disease and, in the next five years, 3D-printing a human heart from living tissue that will grow up with a child.
“We’re unique. There isn’t anything else like this program,” said Marlene Rabinovitch, MD, Director of BASE. “There are other interdisciplinary programs, but they don’t cover the engineering field or have the proximity to the basic sciences or to the clinic. To bioprint and implant a heart into a patient requires a breadth of expertise—from engineers to geneticists and surgeons. BASE wouldn’t exist without Betty and Gordon’s generosity and fervent belief in scientific innovation.”
Together, Betty and Gordon Moore made an incredibly profound impact on children’s health care—in Northern California and around the world. In the past year alone, physicians at the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center performed over 500 surgeries, 25 transplants, and 1,300 interventional procedures. More than 10,000 outpatients visited the Center.
We honor Betty’s memory by thinking about all the children who are thriving today because of the care they received at the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center.