Fall 2022 Newsletter

The energy crisis in Europe and rising energy costs heading into the winter in the U.S. remind us of the urgent need for a transition to a regenerative low-carbon economy.

Over the last few months, IEN's justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) work was included in the 2022 AASHE Anthology; we contributed to a NACUBO report that speaks to our work on supporting the next generation of sustainable investing leaders. We also launched our Sustainable Retirement Plans Pledge and the keynote speaker of our September in-person roundtable was highlighted in The GreenFin Interview: NAACP's CEO on ESG and equity's 'third act.'

We're excited to continue these conversations at our 2023 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, taking place February 5-7, 2023, in Coral Gable, FL. Register for the Summit to further your climate, equity, and sustainable investing goals.

Lastly, our Corporate Engagement Challenge sign-up form is open for students interested in expanding their sustainable investing knowledge and network. The challenge asks students to pitch an investment in a publicly-traded company that addresses inequality and the climate crisis. Please help share the news with students you know!

Warm Regards,

The IEN Team

twitter linkedin facebook

Spotlight: 2023 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit

The 2023 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit will take place Feb 5-7, 2023 in Miami, FL! At the 2023 Summit, we will engage in conversations and hear from leaders in the field on topics including Integrating justice, equity, diversity and inclusion and net zero goals into the investment process, advocating for sustainable investing options in employee retirement plans, and driving the education and research needed to shift to a low-carbon, equitable society and economy.

Hear from inspiring speakers, including keynote speaker Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Climate Policy Director at the Roosevelt Institute and Co-Author of the Green New Deal, Doug Chau, Chief Risk Officer at University of Toronto Asset Management, Tamara Larsen, Partner at Mercer and US ESG Investments Practice Leader, and Jeff Mindlin, Chief Investment Officer at the Arizona State University Foundation.

Sponsorship opportunities are available! Sponsors of the 2023 Climate Leadership Summit will help drive the adoption of new strategies to reduce direct climate impacts of colleges and universities and inform endowment investing strategies that accelerate a just transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

To learn more about how you can showcase your leadership as a sponsor, email Harrison Ungar at [email protected]

Updates from the Network
New IEN Members

We're pleased to welcome the following new members to the network:

IEN Team News

Yousra Bentakfa,

New IEN Sustainable Investing Intern

We’re happy to welcome a new intern to the IEN team for Fall 2022. Yousra is a student at Bunker Hill Community College, where she is working toward an associate degree in Business Administration. Upon completing this degree, She plans to transfer to UMASS of Boston to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Finance. Welcome to the team, Yousra!

Recent Webinars

IEN Members can access the following recent webinars through our member-only archive:

Upcoming Events

Please join us for our upcoming IEN events:

Other Events:

Event Recap: Institutional Investor Roundtable at the Nest Summit Campus, Climate Week NYC, September

This fall, IEN hosted an Institutional Investor Roundtable at The Nest Summit as a part of Climate Week NYC. The roundtable brought together higher education leaders, endowment staff, asset managers, investment consultants, and nonprofit partners for an interactive set of conversations on mission-aligned investing, including Net Zero Portfolios, JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) sustainable investment options in retirement plans. The Roundtable participants left the half-day event inspired with practical strategies to take immediate climate action.

Participants reactions:

"I woke up this morning thinking about what an inspiring roundtable event …thank you to all at IEN for the hard work of organizing it. It was wonderful to network and learn from so many interesting and committed organizations and people.”


"Of all my Climate Week events, the IEN afternoon stood out as being a place where investors came together to work on hard issues. I have had many follow ups and really appreciate your leadership in putting together a format that encourages real dialogue and action."

Learn more about the event including recordings of the keynote with CEO and President of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, and three other panel conversations.

Event sponsored by: Impax Asset management, Impact Shares, Breckinridge Capital Advisor, Schroders, Entrust Global

Lead sponsor

IEN New Steering Committee Members

IEN welcomes four new Steering Committee members:

George Suttles

Executive Director, Commonfund Institute at Commonfund


Geri Melchiorre

Senior Director of Investments for the University of Illinois System


Cornelia Horner

Strategic Initiatives and Communications Lead at University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO)



Kunle Apampa

Head of Client Solutions & Partnership at Capricorn Investment Group

Learn more about IEN's Steering Committee members here

IEN's Focus Areas
SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning & Knowledge) Network

We’re excited to have contributed to a NACUBO Report on student-managed investment funds, published in September and titled: “Student-Run Endowments, Explained.” This report builds off of summary data on student-run endowments collected over the past two years by NACUBO and TIAA, through the annual NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments.

The sign-up form is open for our 2023 Corporate Engagement Challenge, now in its fourth year! The Challenge invites students to pitch an investment in a publicly-traded company, and include in that recommendation a shareholder engagement strategy focused on addressing inequality and the climate crisis. Benefits to participation include access to mentorship and networking opportunities, free and discounted registration to educational workshops and industry events, presentation opportunities, and multimedia interview opportunities.

If you’re a sustainable investment professional looking for ways to support students just beginning their journey in the field, you can sign up to be a mentor for the Challenge!

This quarter we also reconvened the SIILK network for a collaborative call, featuring a presentation from NU Impact, one of the few undergraduate student-led impact investing funds in the country.

Finally, firms interested in sponsoring the Challenge can learn more about partnerships on the SIILK page and contact Nicole Torrico to set up a time to learn more.

Supported by TIAA & Federated Hermes

Sustainable Retirements: Updates from IEN’s Climate Week Roundtable at The Nest Summit in New York City

In case you weren’t able to join us during Climate Week in September, or you wish to revisit the inspiring conversations, we are excited to share the video recordings of our Keynote Address and panel discussions!

We also announced the launch of our Sustainable Retirement Plans Pledge during Climate Week. The Pledge, drafted in support with Second Nature and The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), establishes that university “employees deserve a range of sustainable investing retirement fund options that consider environmental, social, and governance factors, consistent with the goals of reducing risk, protecting capital, and enhancing financial returns.”

The Pledge was first adopted by Arizona State University, The ASU Foundation, Chatham University, and Lewis & Clark College. We are excited to announce three new Pledge signatories: Bard College, NorthLight Foundation, and The Sierra Club Foundation! The Pledge remains open for additional signatories. Please share this Pledge with decision makers at your institutions, or with your clients. Institutions can sign here or contact Chris Walker at [email protected] for more information.

Read the full Guide to Sustainable Retirements here.

Supported by Natixis, Schroders, and TIAA

Net Zero Endowments

This quarter saw a new net zero portoflio commitment from San Francisco State University Foundation and fossil fuel divestment commitments from the University of Washington and over 30 faith-based institutions. The University of Toronto completed its fossil fuel divestment and ramped-up ambition of it's portfolio decarbonization targets as part of it net zero portoflio goal. And Arizona State University was one of few endowments to post postitive investment returns in this year's market, crediting its sustainable investing strategy (which includes a net zero commitment) with bolstering its returns.

IEN’s Executive Director, Georges Dyer shared commented on the surge of higher education institution divestment commitments in the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ Liberal Education piece and, IEN will be launching theBeyond Carbon” podcast in partnership with FFI Solutions will have a strong focus on Net Zero Portfolios, and also explore other ESG issues, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion; and the role of capital and business in society.

Learn more about the Net Zero Endowments Initiative here and members are invited to register and join our [Member-Only] Net zero Initiative quarterly call scheduled for December 1 at 1:30 PM ET. Registration is open for all IEN members interested in joining these conversations.

Supported by TIAA / Nuveen, Wellington Management, ISS ESG, and Adasina Social Capital

Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (JEDI)

This quarter, IEN’s JEDI investing work was included in AASHE’s 2022's Anthology on Racial Equity and Social Justice.The anthology explores how racial equity, social justice, diversity and inclusion are integral to sustainability. We also joined the HBCU Business Dean's Roundtable as part of growing efforts to work with HBCUs on mission aligned investing in retirements, endowments, and student education on sustainable finance.

We continue our quarterly JEDI Working group calls to advance racial equity throughout the investment process. Our next call is scheduled for December 13th, at 1pm ET with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO 5th District) and Robert Marchman,Senior Policy Advisor for Diversity & Inclusion at the SEC to explore diversity data disclosures at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Learn more about the IEN’s JEDI Initiative and register for our next call.

Supported by Prime Buchholz and Global Endowment Management

Investment Governance Working Group

The Investment Governance Working Group had its first quarterly meeting this fall with presentations by San Francisco State University Foundation President, Jeff Jackanicz and Mike Pearce from Cambridge Associates on their recent DEI policy integration into their Investment Policy Statement with credit given to IEN and fellow members.

Bill Burckart and Monique Aiken from The Investment Integration Project gave a thought provoking presentation on system level investing and the launch of their new SAIL Platform, and Nancy Wright from Competent Boards walked the group through best practices for board members and trustees with regard to ESG and fiduciary duty and their ESG Certificate.

If you would like to join the Steering Committee of the Investment Governance Working Group or consider sponsoring this initiative, please reach out to Harrison Ungar at [email protected].

Shareholder Engagement

This Fall, we hosted a Learning Café and Webinar on As You Vote, a proxy voting platform that empowers endowments to vote their proxies in line with their ESG mandates, using a time and cost efficient platform with optional customization.

We’re continuing to support Warren Wilson College in their shareholder engagement work. You can read about their success during the 2021-2022 engagement season in this Briefing Paper, which highlights their 80% success rate in shifting corporate behavior.

Our Corporate Engagement Challenge is entering its fourth year, and we invite you to sign up to mentor a student team, and share the sign-up form with any interested students.

Featured Resources
Resources from IEN

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.

From IEN’s Blog:

Other Resources from the Field
In the News
IEN 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 every Friday, manage your mailing preferences here.

IEN in the News:

Read more coverage of the network here.

Recent Announcements About Higher Education Endowments Aligning Their Investments with Institutional Goals

Other News:

Read coverage of recent announcements by endowments and other asset owners about their progress:

  • Princeton University’s Board of Trustees voted to disassociate from 90 fossil fuel companies last month, a decision that was a culmination of a two-year process that included widened net zero goals and input from stakeholders across the campus.
  • San Francisco State University has updated its IPS to reflect its deepened commitments to climate and racial action, including committing to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 and divestment from fossil fuel companies by 2025. SFSU previously committed to divest from fossil fuels in 2014.
  • Coventry University became the 100th UK university to divest from fossil fuels this week when it announced plans to divest its $50.4m investment portfolio of fossil fuel holdings. With this announcement, 65% of the UK’s higher education sector has made some type of fossil fuel divestment commitment.
  • A board meeting of the Chicago Public School Teachers' Pension & Retirement Fund resulted in a commitment to divest from fossil fuel companies by the end of 2027. The fund also approved a resolution to engage with fossil fuel companies the fund currently has holdings in.

Received this email as a forward from a colleague? Subscribe to IEN's news updates here.

Want to submit an original piece? Please contact Sorelle Ngatchou at sorelle@intentionalendowments.



Get up to date IEN News

Sign up for our Newsletters