Many universities and colleges are now looking to make changes to their portfolio to meet the risks and leverage the opportunities related to climate change and racial and gender equity, but very few university and college endowments (and not very many foundations) take advantage of the power they have through their proxy vote.
Why Vote Our Proxies?
- It's an effective tool in aligning your current investments with your institutional mission while enhancing the long term value of the companies you own.
It's something you can do now that does not involve any change to your current portfolio.
You can direct your external managers (even managers of commingled funds) as to how you want your proxies voted and hold them accountable for how they vote. If you have a public equity separate account, you can actively vote your proxies.
“But proxy voting is complicated,” you say. “ Who has time?” you say.
IEN has launched a 2021 PROXY VOTING CAMPAIGN to make the process efficient and straightforward!
ACT NOW for the 2021 Proxy Voting Season (March - June)!
AND YOU HAVE 3 OPTIONS!
Download and send template letter A to your external managers to show your general support for climate change and social equity related resolutions and urging your managers to vote in favor of those resolutions. Then hold them accountable by requesting a report at the end of the proxy voting season (July).
Download and send template letter B to your external managers to customize the letter to specific resolutions you’d like to support. We’ve inserted 3 types of votes to support into Letter B with supporting arguments, but you can enter your own using our Resolution Tracker or any of other detailed resources provided by our partner organizations: As You Sow and ICCR. Again, hold them accountable by requesting a report at the end of the proxy voting season (July).
EASIEST OF ALL! Large asset manager firms such as BlackRock, Vanguard, Fidelity and T. Rowe Price have not historically supported proposals that hold companies accountable for their climate strategy or their stated promotion of racial and gender equity, and this has been the difference between whether or not the proposals receive majority support. If you are an investor in any BlackRock, Vanguard, Fidelity or T. Rowe Price fund (public equity or no) in either your endowment or your 403b plan, download, execute and send template letter C to your contact there. And then - you guessed it! - hold them accountable for how they vote.
We will be sharing these templates with our sister organizations that work with foundations and we encourage you to share them with your higher education partners as well.
We are looking forward to seeing your actions and your impact in the 2021 Proxy Voting Season!
The Interfaith Center On Corporate Responsibility’s (ICCR) 2021 Proxy Voting Guide - profiles more than 240 resolutions filed by ICCR members for the 2021 proxy season
ICCR’s Shareholder Resolution Lists ICCR member resolutions by company
Proxy Preview 2021 - Proxy Impact, Si2 and As You Sow’s guide to the 2021 Proxy voting Season
As You Sow’s Shareholder Resolution Web Database- list of As You Sow associated shareholder resolutions - can filter by company, date, initiative and status
The Engagement Agency Service - Focused on Engaging on the Business of Diversity Equity and Inclusion
As You Vote - a new proxy voting service collaboration between Broadridge’s ProxyEdge voting platform and As You Sow to help you vote your values
PRI’s latest paper Making Voting Count
Racial Equity Voting Guideline - SEIU and Majority Action