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 February 2019, we have 153 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


Intentionally Designed Endowment Roundtable at Total Impact Philadelphia 2019

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Learn more here.

5th Annual Responsible Investing Summit l Financial Research Associates

April 9-10, 2019, New York, NY

Learn more here.

9th Annual Practitioners Gathering l Confluence Philanthropy

March 4-7, 2019, Brooklyn, NY

Learn more here.

Past IEN Events

For more information on past IEN events, click here.

Upcoming and Past IEN Webinars

To see a list of upcoming IEN webinars, look under "IEN Events". 

To view recordings of past IEN webinars, click here.


College and University Presidents Announce Call to Action...

Boston, MA (February 12, 2019) — Today in Tempe, Arizona, higher education leaders announced a Call to Action: Guiding Principles for Accelerating Equitable and Just Climate Solutions in response to the recent scientific reports that strongly advise unprecedented action in the next decade to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Institutions are signaling for ambitious cross-sector climate solutions that advance just and equitable sustainability practices on campuses and their surrounding communities. Developed in coordination with presidents, chancellors, and trustees from higher education institutions of the Climate Leadership Network, the joint declaration took place at the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, an annual event hosted by Second Nature and the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN). The call provides nine guiding...

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Addressing Climate Change Through a Private Equity Lens, ...

“Climate change is an existential threat to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank Group, recently said. The World Bank Group is not alone in focusing on a more climate resilient future. Climate change remains the most significant ESG issue for asset managers, who have more than doubled their investments to nearly $3 trillion into the space over the last two years, according to the U.S. SIF Foundation's biennial Report on U.S. Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing Trends. Moreover, the report found that private equity and venture capital ESG assets under management more than doubled to $283 billion with 565 funds. Given these investment trends, Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) talked with industry experts to...

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Impact Investing Leaders Introduce Opportunity Zones Repo...

The U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University collaborate to create a shared framework to guide best practices in the Opportunity Zones market NEW YORK, NY, February 6, 2019 -- The U.S. Impact Investing Alliance (“USIIA”) and the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University (“Beeck Center”) today released a set of principles and a detailed impact measurement framework to help guide the development of the Opportunity Zones market. The Opportunity Zones Reporting Framework, a voluntary guideline, is designed to define best practices for Opportunity Fund managers seeking to invest in designated Opportunity Zones around the country. Market participants will be encouraged to abide by these best practices and...

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