What Is The Intentional Endowments Network?

The Intentional Endowments Network is a peer learning network of colleges, universities, and other mission-driven institutional investors working together to achieve their risk and return objectives through investment actions that create a thriving, sustainable economy. As of March 2019, we have nearly 160 network members including endowments, asset managers, investment consultants, nonprofit partners and individuals.  

This broad-based, collaborative network focuses on creating:

  1. Intentionally designed endowments, aligned with institutional mission, that will become the norm in higher education and other tax-exempt organizations, evidenced by growth in policies, practices and actions.
  2. Improved sustainability performance by businesses in response to investor concerns, evidenced by changes in corporate practices and actions.


“As a peer learning network comprised of foundation staff, CIO's and trustees, hearing from people they trust and see as credible as fiduciaries is crucial..."

     - Garrett Ashley, Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Advancement, California State University   



Why Higher Education?

Higher Eduction is the only sector capable of creating the broad scale and necessary change in mindset, skills and values of government, business and other professional leaders. Society looks to higher education to identify solutions to major problems, anticipating future challenges, and developing innovative strategies and models that will enable progress – to be a role model for what society might look like.  

We are faced with the greatest intergenerational equity challenge in modern history. If we continue business as usual, today’s students and their children will find themselves in a world with greatly diminished prospects for a good quality of life, peace and security. 

All investments we make have health, environmental and societal impacts. We hope that it is a positive impact but sometimes we have consequences that we did not plan for in our quest for financial return. We need to be intentional about the impact we want.

“We cannot solve today’s problems at the same level of thinking at which they were created."  

    - Albert Einstein


Why Now?

Humanity is at a crossroads without historical precedent.  Challenges related to climate change, water, food, economic inequality, poverty and social unrest pose an existential threat to society.

“The truth is we’ve wasted 40 or 50 years since the basic fact about serious manmade climate damage became known. … by the time we’ve fully decarbonized our economy… a great deal of damage will have been done.”  

    - Jeremy Grantham


Why Participate?

IEN hosts forums and events; facilitates peer networking; curates useful resources on sustainable investing opportunities; and provides educational venues for information exchange around a variety of sustainable investing strategies, such as ESG integration, impact investing, and shareholder engagement.



“I wanted to reach out to extend my congratulations on a very well run and effective conference last week...The conference content was very engaging and I found myself taking away some actionable items for our practice moving forward."

     - Kelly Green, Graystone Consulting (Morgan Stanley)


“As a trustee and the chair of the Investment and Business Affairs Committees at Northland College, I've found the Intentional Endowments Network to be an invaluable resource.  Anyone with a "duty of care" that comes with fiduciary responsibility will find the peer networking and the library of information on the website very useful"  

      - Mike Fiorio, Trustee, Northland College

Endowments have a unique opportunity where doing the right thing for the climate – reducing their exposure to stranded carbon asset risk, and investing solutions – is also the smart thing for their investment portfolios.

– Bob Litterman

Chair, Risk Committee
Kepos Capital LP

Events & Webinars

An Introduction to The IEN Roadmap & How The University of New Hampshire Intentionally Invests

Location: MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, MA

This event, presented in partnership with WISE (Women Investing for a Sustainable Economy), will feature an introduction to IEN's recently released Roadmap for Intentionally Designed Endowments, a resource that guides investors through key steps as they look to align investment practices with institutional mission through sustainable, responsible, and impact investing (SRI), which includes explicitly considering long-term environmental, social, and governance issues in the investment process.

Following an introduction to this resource, several key stakeholders from the University of New Hampshire will outline their work to implement sustainable investing strategies across the endowment in a panel format. This panel will be followed with a Q&A, discussion period, and networking time.



Community Impact Investing Roundtable 2019

Location: Berkeley, CA

Learn more here. 

Intentionally Designed Endowment Roundtable at Total Impact Philadelphia 2019

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Learn more here.

Confluence Philanthropy’s Advisors Forum

Organizer: Confluence Philanthropy

Location: San Francisco, CA

Learn more and register here. Special member pricing available for IEN members.


Past IEN Events

For more information on past IEN events, click here.

Past IEN Webinars

To view recordings from past IEN webinars, click here.


Middlebury College's Ambitious Energy2028 Plan

Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college, based in Vermont and known for its global reach and focus. In late January 2019, Middlebury announced an ambitious, whole-institution approach to combating climate change that includes sustainable, fossil fuel-free investing.

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Impact Update: Getting Oil, Gas, and Mining on Board with...

Impact Update Intentionally Designed Endowments Making a Difference   March 2019: Getting the Oil, Gas, and Mining Sector On Board with Climate Action

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2019 Proxy Voting Season Kicks Off

Last week a team of experts launched the Proxy Preview 2019 guide, providing institutional investors with a key tool for shareholder engagement on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

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