Steve McCormick (executive)

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Steve McCormick
(Former) CEO The Nature Conservancy and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
In office
Personal details
Born1951 (age 67–68)
Alma materUC Berkeley, University of California, Hastings College of the Law

Steve McCormick is the former president of The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (2007-2014) and the former president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy (2000-2007). In May 2014, Gordon Moore announced that McCormick was leaving the Moore Foundation[1] to co-found a startup to create the first global, open-source database on ecosystem services and natural capital, called The Earth Genome.[2] McCormick is a board member for many social impact and environmental organizations.

The Nature Conservancy[edit]

McCormick is credited with reorganizing The Nature Conservancy (TNC) into a "truly global entity to fulfill its mission."[3][4][5][6][7] During his tenure, the group grew to operate in 30 countries and all 50 states in the United States, with revenues in excess of $650 million,[3] with its assets increasing to $5.4 billion.[8] McCormick began his career with TNC in 1976 as western regional legal counsel. He then spent 16 years as executive director of California and Western Region.[9] In 2004, he asked TNC's science staff to develop a framework to guide global conservation at the organization, which ultimately produced The Atlas of Global Conservation to collate environmental information[10][11][12] He led the effort to create and incorporate the strategic framework that still guides the group's work, called Conservation by Design (see "Method" at The Nature Conservancy).[11][13][14] On June 8, 2005, McCormick defended TNC's land acquisition practices in front of the United States Senate Committee on Finance,[15] after a 2003 Washington Post article, Nonprofit Land Bank Amasses Millions, questioned TNC's motives.[16][17] An academic study of the incident concluded that the Post's analysis was "reductionist" to the point of "misleading."[18]

The Moore Foundation[edit]

As president and CEO of the Moore Foundation, McCormick wrote prolifically on the importance of supporting basic science, especially for environmental conservation.[19][20][21][22][23] McCormick oversaw more than $1 billion in grants, many of which were granted to scientific research, including $34.2 million to simulate experimental research in the physics of quantum materials and $12.5 million (joint with Sloan Foundation) to the Berkeley Institute for Data Science.[24][25][26] McCormick left "abruptly" with much speculation as to why.[27][28] It became clear in subsequent months that McCormick left to create a 501(c)(3) non-profit, The Earth Genome, to make environmental information more accessible, using best practices from the tech industry.[29][30]

Board service and awards[edit]

McCormick has served on numerous boards, including The Independent Sector,[31] Sustainable Conservation,[32] the California Academy of Sciences,[33] and the advisory board of the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources.[34] He is the recipient of the Chevron Conservation Award; the Department of Interior Silver Award; and the Edmund G. Brown Award for Environmental and Economic Balance.[34]


  1. ^ Moore, Gordon. "Steve McCormick to step down after six years of high-impact, visionary leadership". Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  2. ^ McCormick, Steve (13 May 2014). "A New Approach to Global Conservation". Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b Grossman, Allen; Wei-Skillern, Jane (February 2003). "Nature Conservancy, The". Harvard Business School, Case 303-007. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  4. ^ Stephens, Joe (2 October 2007). "Nature Conservancy's President Abruptly Announces Resignation". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  5. ^ Anderson, Scott (2 October 2015). "Conservation: Steve McCormick's Departure from The Nature Conservancy, Questions and Appreciation". The Green Skeptic. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  6. ^ Birchard, Bill (2005). Nature's Keepers: The Remarkable Story of How the Nature Conservancy Became the Largest Environmental Group in the World. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0787971588.
  7. ^ "President and CEO of Nature Conservancy to Discuss "Sustainable Conservation: A Model for the 21st Century"". Yale News. Yale University. 23 April 2004. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Report of Independent Auditors" (PDF). The Nature Conservancy: Consolidated Financial Statements. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC. 19 November 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Steve McCormick". California Department of Parks of Recreaction. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ a b Kareiva, Peter; Groves, Craig; Marvier, Michelle (2014). "The evolving linkage between conservation science and practice at The Nature Conservancy". Journal of Applied Ecology. 51 (5): 1137–1147. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12259. PMC 4301179. PMID 25641980.
  12. ^ Hoekstra, Jonathan; et al. (2010). The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a Difference. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520262560.
  13. ^ "Conservation by Design: A Strategic Framework for Mission Success" (PDF). The Nature Conservancy. 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2015. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ Groves, Craig; Klein, Mary; Breden, Thomas (1995). "Natural Heritage Programs: public-private partnerships for biodiversity conservation" (PDF). Wildlife Society Bulletin. 25 (4): 784–790. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Statement of Steven J. McCormick On Behalf of The Nature Conservancy: The Tax Code and Land Conservation" (PDF). 8 June 2005. Retrieved 12 October 2015 – via United States Senate Committee on Finance.
  16. ^ "Nature Conservancy Changes". Living on Earth. National Public Radio. 20 June 2003. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  17. ^ McCormick, Steve (13 May 2003). "Balancing The Nature Conservancy Story". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  18. ^ Stephenson, Jr., Max; Chaves, Elizabeth (1 June 2009). "The Nature Conservancy, the Press, and Accountability". Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 35 (3): 345–366. doi:10.1177/0899764006287886. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  19. ^ Linden, Larry; McCormick, Steve; et al. (1 October 2012). "A Big Deal for Conservation". Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  20. ^ Tercek, Mark (2 October 2012). "Q&A With Steve McCormick: Dialogues on the Environment". The Blog. Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  21. ^ McCormick, Steve; Tjian, Robert (19 November 2010). "A New Focus on Plant Science". Science. 330 (6007): 1021. Bibcode:2010Sci...330.1021M. doi:10.1126/science.1198153. PMID 21097906.
  22. ^ McCormick, Steve (16 October 2013). "Changemaker vs. Grantmaker". Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  23. ^ Kareiva, Peter; McCormick, Steve (16 June 2015). "Improving global environmental management with standard corporate reporting". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (24): 7375–7382. Bibcode:2015PNAS..112.7375K. doi:10.1073/pnas.1408120111. PMC 4475964. PMID 26082543.
  24. ^ "Moore Foundation Awards $34.2 Million for Quantum Physics Research". Philanthropy News Digest. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  25. ^ Ungerleider, Neal (13 November 2013). "White House to Universities: We Need More Data Scientists". Fast Feed. Fast Company. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  26. ^ "Form 990-PF: Return of Private Foundation" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  27. ^ Callahan, David (19 February 2014). "Four Theories on Why Steve McCormick Is Leaving the Moore Foundation". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  28. ^ Donovan, Doug (19 February 2014). "CEO of Moore Foundation Resigns Abruptly". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  29. ^ "The Earth Genome". Funded Ventures. Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  30. ^ McCormick, Steve (13 May 2014). "A New Approach to Global Conservation". Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  31. ^ "Board Biographies". The Independent Sector. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  32. ^ "Our Board". Sustainable Conservation. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  33. ^ "Our Leadership". California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  34. ^ a b "Two CNR advisory board members named to high-profile national positions" (PDF). Breakthroughs: 25. Spring 2001. Retrieved 21 September 2011.