For Jack and Betty Moore, giving back is far more meaningful than simply bestowing money; it is an intentional, long-term commitment to help.
The University of Alabama has been an integral part of Jack and Betty’s lives for as long as they can recall. Both of Jack’s parents graduated from UA, as well as his sister and two of Betty’s siblings. Betty’s father, Kemmons Wilson — the founder, chairman and CEO of Holiday Inns, Inc. — delivered the 1968 commencement address and received his honorary doctorate.
After meeting on a blind date at UA in 1967 — one of several seemingly little decisions that changed the trajectory of their lives — the two have continued to build their families’ legacy at the Capstone.
“Our families all have a real warm spot for this University and giving back to this campus and all of its programs,” Betty said. “We have had many opportunities to give away money, and have over the years to many organizations, but this one has drawn our families together.”
Creating opportunities for students is vital to the Moores. In 2006, Jack and Betty created the Moore Scholars Program, an endowment aimed at supporting students who could not otherwise afford to attend the University.
Recently, as their contribution to The Rising Tide Capital Campaign, the Moores made a significant commitment that will more than double the Elizabeth W. Moore and Jackson W. Moore First Generation Scholars Endowed Scholarship and allow them to aid up to eight Moore Scholars at all times.
“When you have one of these bright young students look you in the eyes and say, ‘You changed my life,’ you can’t imagine the joy you feel inside,” Jack said. “No amount of money can buy that.”
For Jack and Betty, their support extends beyond their financial contributions. It’s about the personal relationships they’ve formed with the recipients of their scholarships over the years and the lessons they’ve been able to teach through their giving. It also allows the Moores the chance to teach their own children the importance of continuing their family’s legacy of generosity.
“I wanted our kids to see us do this and understand how blessed they are, all three of them,” Jack said. “I thought it was important to do it when they were old enough to understand what we were doing. In fact, they’ve met several of our scholarship recipients over the years.”
Betty said over the course of the program, the couple has made it a point to be wholly involved in the process from start to finish — and even beyond graduation.
“Over the long haul, it’s certainly been an extremely positive experience for us both. We just wanted to wrap our arms around these kids and let them know that we’re there for them.”
The Moores have increased their commitment to education. Currently, they assist one freshman and one sophomore. Beginning in Fall 2022, they will start with two freshmen and add two new students each year.
Education is simply one area of the University impacted by the Moores’ generosity. Their gifts have impacted everything from athletics to the Performing Arts Center and the Hewson Hall building campaign.
“We’ve really spread our passion for the University all around in all aspects of its needs, as well as its students’ needs,” Jack said.
Building a legacy is important, but most meaningful to Jack and Betty is “the joy and the blessing” of giving. They hope their opportunities open doors for their scholarship recipients to do the same.
“Motivation from a couple giving can just be the one step somebody else needs to start their own journey,” Betty said. “I hope we have created an opportunity for our students that as they progress with their life skills and job opportunities, they look back and think, ‘I want to do likewise.’”