Endowment Value: $1.9 billion (June 2018)
Grinnell College is a liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa with a mission to educate students "for the different professions and for the honorable discharge of the duties of life." Most of Grinnell's endowment assets are invested with external managers, who have been chosen following extensive reviews by the College’s internal investment staff and then approved by the board’s Investment Committee. Investor partners Joe Rosenfield, alumnus, and Warren Buffet both sat on the Board of Trustees and worked with the administration to build and grow the endowment.
Grinnell College first published a campus-wide sustainability plan in 2013 with the goal of reducing its carbon footprint and pursuing sustainability through three intersecting spheres: environmental (such as resource management), social (education, community, living standards), and economic (profit, cost-savings, fair trade). In 2017 and 2018, Grinnell College updated its plan to include carbon emissions reduction and renewable sourcing goals. For example, Grinnel holds a goal to obtain 60 percent of campus electricity from renewable resources within four years.
With regards to sustainable investing, In April 2017, the Board of Trustees (BoT) appointed a Board Fossil Fuels and Climate Impact Task Force to study the issue of divestment from fossil fuels and explore ways in which Grinnell College can have a positive impact on the critical global issue of climate change. Among the Task Force’s recommendations that were endorsed by the BoT included a.) to maintain the current investment policy and not divest from fossil fuels, b.) increase the Investment Committee’s shareholder engagement in ESG-related issues, and c.) assess the feasibility of creating a separate fund for donors wishing to contribute to an ESG-screened, fossil fuel-free fund in the endowment. The Task Force also recommended that the investment team continue to leverage alliances with like-minded investors, through organizations such as the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) and Ceres.
Grinnell College is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
- AASHE STARS: Yes, member
- ACUPCC: Yes, no set climate neutral date
- Billion Dollar Green Challenge: No
- Committee on Investor Responsibility: Yes
- Divestment Goal: Yes
- INCR: Yes
- Montreal Carbon Pledge: No
- Sustainable Investment Fund: In Progress
- Sustainable Investment Policy: Yes
- Principles for Responsible Investment: No
Other Sustainable Investing Practices:
- Sustainability Plan (updated 2018)
- Fossil Fuels and Climate Impact Task Force Recommendations (2018)
- Sustainable Endowment and Task Force FAQ (2018)
- Grinnell Sustainability