Fall 2019 Newsletter

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As we start our Thanksgiving holiday break in the U.S., we are grateful for your continued partnership in building the field of mission-aligned investing by college, university, nonprofit, and philanthropic endowments.

In this quarter’s newsletter, we share an original Q&A article interviewing experts about shareholder power to address climate risks, our reflections on our recent Community Impact Investing Roundtable, and a preview of our largest annual face-to-face gathering, the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit - we hope to see you at the Endowment Investing Forum taking place within the Summit!

Warm regards,

The IEN Team

Feature School: California State University

Looking for inspiration on taking the next steps toward an intentionally designed endowment? Watch the story of the California State University's journey! This new addition to IEN’s “Celebrating the Leaders” series of short videos shares how the CSU system, with its diverse campuses and endowment investing goals, has found a variety of ways to more closely align investments with institutional goals.



Register now for the premier gathering of higher education leaders driving responses to the climate crisis - with early bird rates until December 16th for all participants! We’re continuing to announce new speakers, including conversations on practical strategies for aligning endowment investments with institutional goals with Laurie Patton, President of Middlebury College, Bob Litterman, Chairman, Risk Committee and Academic Advisory Board at Kepos Capital LP, Natasha Lamb, Managing Partner, Director of Equity Research & Shareholder Engagement, Arjuna Capital, and Katherine Collins, author of The Nature of Investing and Head of Sustainable Investing, Putnam Investments. 

Thank you to our sponsors for helping make the Summit possible! It’s not too late to become a sponsor - take a look at Summit partnership opportunities here.


Q&A Article: Investors Wield Shareholder Power to Address Climate Investment Risks

The urgency to address investment risks posed by climate change has increasingly prompted stakeholders into action. A popular strategy within the equity ESG toolkit is wielding shareholder power to evoke change. Collaborative efforts, such as the Climate Action 100+ has allowed investors to have a stronger voice in corporate boardrooms. The Climate Action 100+ represents over 370 global investors with over $35 billion in AUM, and is focused on ensuring that the world’s largest greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emitters take necessary action regarding environmental shifts.

The Intentional Endowments Network approached members of the Climate Action 100+ to better understand their approach to addressing climate investment risks by exercising their shareholder rights. Such investors included:

  • Samantha McCafferty, Assistant Vice President, Sustainable Investing, Harvard Management Company (“HMC”), $40.9 billion in AUM
  • Daren Smith, President & Chief Investment Officer and Lisa Becker, Chief Operating Officer, University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation, $8.5 billion in AUM
  • Paul Hilton, Partner/Portfolio Manager and Brianna Murphy, Vice President, Shareholder Advocacy, Trillium, $3.0 billion in AUM
  • Geeta Aiyer, President/Founder and Lisa Hayles, Principal, ESG Specialist, Boston Common Asset Management, $2.7 billion in AUM

Read the full Q&A here.


Additional Updates from the Network 

New IEN Members

We are pleased to welcome Stewart Investors Sustainable Funds Group, RBC Global Asset Management, Majedie Asset Management, Momentum Advisors, and J Aduke Consulting to the Network!  

To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.


New Nonprofit Board Members

Our network brought new expertise to the executive team guiding our work last month, with the addition of two new members to the Board of Directors of The Crane Institute of Sustainability, 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. Read the full announcement here.


IEN Members Gather at Peer Learning Events Around the Country

  • Read a full recap of IEN’s ESG & Community Impact Investing Roundtable, which took place in Berkeley, CA in September. Panel videos are available here as well!
  • IEN and new member RBC hosted a dinner for trustees and endowment fiduciaries in New York in October to explore sustainable investing strategies. We look forward to hearing your ideas about setting up similar convenings in 2020!
  • At The SRI Conference earlier this month, IEN's Nicole Torrico and colleagues at IEN Member institutions Brown Advisory, Mobius Capital Partners, Green Century, Morgan Stanley, and Stake were all honored as winners of the SRI Conference's first 30 Under 30 Award!
  • Over the last few months, IEN staff and members hosted workshops or sessions at the AASHE Conference, Opal Forum for Endowments and FoundationsPhenix Impact Summit America, and The SRI Conference, and participated in the GIIN Investor Forum, HBCU Sustainability Summit, Skytop Strategies Impact Investing conference, SOCAP, PRI in Person, Opportunity Collaboration, Climate Week, Climate strikes across the country, and more!
  • Take a look below at the 2020 events IEN members are partnering on, including conferences with AGB, NACUBO, GreenBiz, and the Croatan Institute!



In the past few months, IEN has hosted the following webinars. Follow the links to view recordings of each:

And stay tuned for a webinar in January 2020 with an introduction to sustainable endowment investing, which will be a great preparatory conversation for those attending the Endowment Investing Forum at the 2020 Higher Ed Climate Leadership Summit.


IEN Welcomes Two Fall Interns

We are pleased to announce the addition of two IEN Interns this Fall -- Alex Konecky and Khalil Ait Bouzid. Read Khalil and Alex's full bios on the IEN Team page, and join us in giving them a warm welcome!


SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning and Knowledge) Network

In the past few months, the SIILK Network has:

  • Completed Our First Round of Mentor & Mentee Pairings: The 13 mentor and mentee pairs matched earlier this year have met once a month for six months and connected on general career support or project based support. Mentees have said: “The program has been absolutely wonderful and I am so happy with my mentor!” and “Participating in this program has been very valuable to growing my understanding of potential options for me post-graduation in the field of sustainable investing, and has greatly contributed to my professional development.” We recently Opened applications for the next round of the SIILK Mentorship Program - applications are accepted on a rolling basis here.
  • Opened Applications for Our 2020 Fellowship Program: The SIILK Fellowship Program, through a paid internship with IEN, academic project work, mentorship, and training, supports education and professional development. Applications are due December 13th, 2019, and can be found here.
  • Hosted a Workshop at The SRI Conference: IEN’s SIILK Network hosted a workshop for students and faculty to discuss ways to increase the integration of sustainable investing practices into curriculum, student-managed funds, and college and university endowments. Many of the participants were winners of The SRI Conference Scholarship - learn about donating or applying to the program here.
  • Started a Pilot Student Competition Focused of Shareholder Engagement: The SIILK Network Student Corporate Engagement Competition invites students to write an investment recommendation for a publicly listed company, including their best shareholder engagement idea for improving the company’s business performance in the context of 21st century markets while positively impacting society by improving ESG performance. Four schools are piloting this competition now, which will be opened to wider participation in the fall of 2020.
  • Connected on Monthly Calls: On SIILK monthly calls, students and faculty share their experiences around student-managed investment funds and sustainable investing curriculum. Watch recent presentations from New York University’s Impact Investing FundEmory University’s Goizueta Impact Investors, or all past recordings here.

If you are interested in connecting with stakeholders to share best practices and advance the development of sustainably invested student-managed funds and sustainable finance curriculum at your college or university, please reach out to Nicole at [email protected].


Sustainable Retirements: ESG Options for Retirement Plans

This new initiative is seeking responses from fiduciaries and beneficiaries of nonprofit retirement plans to its scoping survey - please take a few minutes to complete the survey! The group is also planning a pre-Summit Workshop on Sunday February 23rd (more details here). If you are interested in participating in this new initiative, please reach out to Georges at [email protected]Supported by Natixis and Schroders 


Working Groups

IEN Working Groups meet regularly to advance key strategies in support of the network's goals. Below is a brief update of what current Working Groups have accomplished.

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group: This group continues to organize calls every 1-2 months to exchange resources and collaborate for action on advancing DEI lens integration in endowment investing practices. The WG is moving forward with developing a DEI Primer and making plans to launch additional sustainable investing fellowships. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Kaede at [email protected]. 
  • Gender Lens Investing Working Group: If you are passionate about increasing the number of higher education endowments investing with a gender lens, please reach out to Nicole at [email protected] for more information, and to join our next call (approximately quarterly).
  • Fiduciary Duty & Policy Working Group: This group is creating a pre-Summit webinar for mid-January to put sustainable investing in fiduciary context for attendees of the 2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. They have also been landscaping the opportunities for training for endowment fiduciaries in being an effective fiduciary in the 21st century, including understanding the benefits of ESG integration in the investment process. At the last meeting Terry Thornton of the PRI Academy shared his knowledge about the current state of training in ESG investing for fiduciaries. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Alice at [email protected].
  • Shareholder Engagement Working Group: This group has re-organized with over 20 members including non-profit shareholder advocacy groups, endowments, students and asset managers. On the most recent call, members made plans for collaborating on action to address the newly proposed SEC shareholder advocacy and proxy voting rules (Rule 14A-8) which will serve to   restrict shareholder rights should the new rules be adopted. The group also discussed co-filing opportunities for college and university endowments. Over the next 2 months the group will be focusing on comment letters and advocacy outreach around the proposed changes to the rules. Please reach out to Alice at [email protected] if you are interested in participating in this group or learning more about the proposed rules and our actions to protect shareholder engagement.
  • Trustee Peer Group: The trustee peer group has been sharing insights on the governance and implementation processes for sustainable investing by endowments, and connecting with peers on other Boards that are undertaking these processes. The group has been helping with the design of the 2020 Summit and ESG session at AGB’s Foundation Leadership Forum. If you are a trustee and interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Georges at [email protected].

Partnership Opportunities

Upcoming Events

IEN Events:

Other Events:

2020 Event Preview:

To view more upcoming events, click here.

Featured Resources

Below are some recent resources from the Intentional Endowments Network and other organizations. To see more reports, articles, videos and other resources by topic, visit the resource page on our website.

Resources from IEN:


Other Resources:


In the News

Below is a sampling of recent news articles we've posted in our Weekly News Round-Up, ranging in topics from Sustainable, Impact and ESG Investing, Climate Risk, Science & Regulation, Sustainability in Higher Education, Divestment, Clean Energy, and more. To receive news updates directly in your inbox, manage your mailing preferences here.

IEN in the News:




Other News:

If you have an original piece you would like to submit for an upcoming newsletter, or for more information about the Intentional Endowments Network and how you can support this work, please contact Hannah Bowen at [email protected].

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