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 Education 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

Croatan Forum 2020

Organizer: Croatan Institute

Location: Durham, NC

Learn more here.

ESG Investment Europe

Organizer: Reuters Events

Location: London, UK

Learn more here.

Past IEN Events

For more information on past IEN events, click here.

GreenBiz 20

Organizer: GreenBiz

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Learn more here. 

Investing for Impact 2020

Organizer: Economist Events

Location: New York, NY

Learn more here.

Register here (IEN Members use discount code IEN15/DC to receive 15% off standard ticket prices)

Intentionally Designed Endowment Forum

Organizer: IEN and New York Mayor's Office

Location: New York, NY

Learn more here (this event is invite only). 

Past IEN Webinars

To view recordings from past IEN webinars, click here.


Hope Is Not a Strategy

Colleges that choose to avoid issues important to their audience and relevant to the management of our respective endowments, risk “withering on the vine” irrespective of portfolio performance.  

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Two Leaders in Sustainable Investing Join Intentional End...

BOSTON, MA (November 25, 2019) – The Intentional Endowments Network (“IEN”) brought new expertise to the executive team guiding its work last month, with the addition of two new members to the Board of Directors of The Crane Institute of Sustainability (“Crane”), IEN’s nonprofit organizational home. Both Evelyn Murphy, president of The WAGE Project and former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, and Gabe Rissman, co-founder & president of YourStake joined Crane’s Board in October. Their unique perspectives on the cross-sector leadership for sustainable investing bring further depth to the group of investment and higher education leaders governing IEN’s work.

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ESG & Community Impact Investing Roundtable - Event Summary

On September 6th, 2019, IEN organized the ESG & Community Impact Investing Roundtable at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. The half-day event brought together a diverse group of endowment decision-makers, investment firms, nonprofit leaders and other stakeholders looking to enhance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) integration into their investment process to positively impact communities near their campuses and around the world. 

Read More

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