Georges Dyer published Statement on the Attack on the US Capitol Building in Blog 2021-01-07 13:00:12 -0500
The violent insurrection at the US Capitol yesterday was an horrific attack on democracy. We join many others in condemning those involved, including Donald Trump for inciting this violence and praising those defacing the Capitol Building and terrorizing those serving our nation. We have been heartened by the strong statements from college and university presidents across the country. It is crucial that higher education and the investment industry call out this ongoing threat to our democracy.
It is also critical to recognize that so many of the lies and conspiracy theories threatening a peaceful transfer of power are fueled by explicitly racist ideologies proactively working to preserve and strengthen white supremacy in America. Colleges and universities must continue to enhance and improve their efforts on anti-racism, and this extends to how endowment capital is invested. The investment management industry must continue to change and proactively invest for racial equity across all investments, and engage with the social media and tech companies they own to address their role in enabling these destabilizing and dangerous trends.
It is our hope that these events -- like so many of the other painful challenges over the past year -- provoke meaningful reforms and an awakening that will help us shift from an extractive, inequitable system, to an equitable, regenerative society.
Georges Dyer published Announcing a Milestone in Tony Cortese's Career in Blog 2020-11-11 12:18:49 -0500
Dear IEN Community,
It is bittersweet to share the news that our co-founder Tony Cortese will be retiring this fall.
This marks not only a milestone for the Intentional Endowments Network, but also for an amazing career of service, leadership, and vision.
Tony’s story is a powerful one. Starting in Boston’s North End (“Little Italy”), he graduated from Boston Latin School and was the first in his family to attend college at Tufts and receive a doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health. Deeply driven by the impulse to serve, Tony charted a path in public health and sustainability in public service for the US EPA and MA Dept. of Environmental Protection. He then turned his attention to Higher Education, inspired by the power of education to improve society.
As a systems-thinker he was able to connect dots few others saw as related. As a visionary he has been able to inspire whole movements. And with determined persistence, he has shepherded these movements through to concerted action.
Tony has been strategically and responsibly preparing for this transition and the team and organization are well-positioned to continue thriving. And, we won’t be letting him leave the work all together; he will remain involved as a volunteer Senior Fellow, to continue to provide valued strategic advice and counsel. He will also continue to actively support the higher education sector and sustainability movement in other ways, as a volunteer, mentor, and through other affiliations.
In the coming year, we will have more to share on Tony’s legacy, and will be inviting you to join us in celebrating his monumental contributions to society --- and, at Tony’s insistence, doing so in ways that aren’t about the individual, but about the collective effort to create a better world for all people, now and in the future; and that help advance this critical work in concrete ways.
On behalf of Tony and our entire team, we thank all of you in the IEN community for your leadership, hard work, openness and commitment to supporting higher education and creating a better world.
Co-founder and Executive Director
International Endowments Network &
The Crane Institute of Sustainability
Georges Dyer published Building Sustainable Retirements in IEN's Focus Areas 2020-10-01 14:15:52 -0400
Sustainable Retirements Initiative
IEN’s Sustainable Retirements Initiative supports institutions in ensuring retirement options take material ESG factors into consideration.
The approximately 4,500 colleges and universities in the US alone represent a tremendous pool of retirement assets - totaling over $900 billion - that must be safeguarded from sustainability risks.
Many colleges and universities are working to align their education, research, and operations with the Sustainable Development Goals. While many have taken steps to integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into their endowment investment decision-making, there’s a tremendous opportunity for institutions to provide sustainable investment options for a vital constituency- their own employees.
Background & Scope
The initiative was launched in 2019 through an initial phase of design, formation, research and engagement. It is designed to engage a broad network of universities and other nonprofit institutions to help fiduciaries ensure they are considering all material, pecuniary, ESG investment factors in fund selection for defined contribution (DC) 403b plans; as well as support defined benefit (DB) plans in effectively doing the same.
This initiative is modeled after a similar project led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) for corporate retirement plans: Aligning Retirement Assets with Corporate Sustainability Commitments (ARA). The ARA brought together leading asset management firms and financial advisors with WBCSD member companies to identify the barriers and the ways in which to address them so that they can better align their retirement plans with their sustainability commitments.
Participation is open to interested parties from all colleges, universities, and other nonprofits – including trustees and investment committee members, CFOs, HR professionals and other administrators, faculty and staff interested in the impact of their retirement funds.
There is no cost or obligation for representatives from nonprofit institutions to participate.
Leading asset management firms are providing expertise, guidance, and financial support of this initiative.
The Expert Council, made up of representatives from IEN, participating colleges and universities, and supporting asset managers provide strategic input and help steer the direction of the initiative.
The initiative will develop resources and toolkits, engage participants, build awareness, and offer educational programming for stakeholders.
Outcomes will include a landscape study of the sector including barriers and opportunities for providing more ESG investing options to beneficiaries; a Toolkit for colleges and universities for making progress in this area; a network of interested parties involved in these process; and a set of recommendations for future research and activities to advance this work further.
Webinars & Presentations - Integrating Sustainable Investment Options into Higher Ed Retirement Plans
Climate Action Pursuit session: What Do Retirement Plan Sponsors Need to Know about Sustainability? | (Feb. 2021)
Climate Action Pursuit session: What's in My Retirement Plan? | (Feb. 2021)
Webinar: Fiduciary Duty Considerations | (Nov. 2020)
TV Segment: Investing for a Thriving and Sustainable Society | TheIMPACT on Fintech.TV (2020)
- Webinar: Integrating Sustainable Investment Options into Higher Education Retirement Plans (May 2020)
Sarah Bratton Hughes, Head of Sustainability, North America, Schroders
Dr. Erica Frank, Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia and founder, nextGenU
Ed Farrington, Executive Vice President, Natixis Investment Managers
Mike Fiorio, Trustee, Northland College
Jeff Gitterman, Co-founding Partner, Gitterman Wealth Management
Erik Gross, Associate Vice President, UNH Foundation
Tiffany Mcghee, CEO and CIO, Pivotal Advisors
Jeff Mindlin, Vice President, and Chief Investment Officer, ASU Enterprise Partners
Will Relle, Responsible Investment Consultant, Mercer
Chris Walker, Senior Advisor, Intentional Endowments Network
Georges Dyer, Executive Director, Intentional Endowments Network
For more resources related to sustainable investing options in higher education retirement plans visit the Retirement Resources page in IEN's resource library.
This initiative is made possible by supporting partners:
- Climate Action Pursuit session: What Do Retirement Plan Sponsors Need to Know about Sustainability? | (Feb. 2021)
Noreen Marton, Business Manager
Intentional Endowments Network & the Crane Institute of SustainabilityRead more
Georges Dyer, Co-founder and Executive Director
Intentional Endowments Network & the Crane Institute of SustainabilityRead more
Georges Dyer published Paris Climate Agreement and Investment Portfolios in IEN Press Releases 2020-02-19 15:14:30 -0500
Blueprint for Action for Investors Wishing to Uphold Aims of Paris Climate Agreement and Implement Environmental Factors Into Portfolios
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cambridge Associates and Intentional Endowments Network Outline a Blueprint for Action for Investors Wishing to Uphold Aims of Paris Climate Agreement and Implement Environmental Factors Into Portfolios
BOSTON, MA and ESSEX, MA (June 19, 2017) -- Though the United States government is no longer supporting the Paris Climate Agreement, hundreds of American institutions -- including endowments and foundations -- have joined businesses, philanthropists, cities and states across the country in remaining committed to the international accord.
Many institutions struggle to integrate environmental objectives and considerations (including ESG factors) into their investment portfolios, and the language of the Paris Agreement provides a good framework for moving forward. To integrate this framework effectively, they would do well to focus investment decision-making around three elements of their organizations and missions -- their Purpose, Priorities and Principles -- and to ensure their investment policies reflect those guideposts, according to the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN), a non-profit peer learning network, and global investment firm Cambridge Associates. IEN and CA have created related resources for institutions, "Considerations for ESG Policy Development" and "Paris Agreement in the Investment Policy."
"The investment risks and opportunities associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy remain salient for many long-term investors, and the U.S. exit from the Paris Agreement should not prevent them from integrating environmental factors into their investment decisions," says Georges Dyer, Principal of the Intentional Endowments Network.
"Long-term investors understand that climate change and human responses to it will present both risks and opportunities for their portfolios," says Tom Mitchell, Managing Director in the Mission-Related Investing Practice at Cambridge Associates. "The guiding objectives of the Paris Agreement provide investors a sound framework for integrating sustainability factors and considerations within investment policy, which serves as a blueprint for action and support our longer term view on the importance of resource efficiency and sustainability."
Dyer and Mitchell explain how articulating Purpose, Priorities, and Principles in a well-designed investment policy can help institutions effectively incorporate environmental concerns into their investment portfolios. Questions investors should explore include:
- What is our institution's purpose? That is, what are our primary goals and core beliefs -- and how should they inform our investment decisions? An institutional purpose usually takes an aspirational, longer-term time horizon. For example, an investor's Purpose statement may simply be to support the transition toward a low-carbon economy. Ultimately, defining a purpose ensures that the institution knows what it is striving toward with its investments.
- What are our core environmental or social priorities, and how can we express them in policy language? Thinking about priorities allows investment committees to link their broad purpose to specific investment areas. If an institution's purpose is to support the transition toward a low-carbon economy, for example, its investment priorities may exist in areas like renewable infrastructure, clean transportation and smart energy management.
- What are the principles that inform our investment decision-making? Endowments and foundations should think of these principles as overarching guidelines that help ensure the investments they make are in line with their purpose and priorities. For instance, a guiding principle for some investors may be that all investment opportunities should be viewed through a sustainability lens.
Dyer and Mitchell add that decision-makers at endowments and foundations should also proactively study sustainability themes to remain aware of potential opportunities to align their portfolios with their environmental goals.
Ultimately, note Dyer and Mitchell, open discussions among key stakeholders are essential for defining and refining an institution's investment purpose, priorities and principles. If institutions do not seek input and build consensus internally, they will be more likely to fall short of their sustainable investment goals.
Cambridge Associates' Mission-Related Investing Practice works with institutions to design and implement their mission-related investing programs.
To learn more about how investors can organize their investment decision-making around their purpose, priorities and principles, please click here.
To speak with Georges Dyer or Tom Mitchell, please contact Eric Mosher of Sommerfield Communications at +1 (212) 255-8386 or [email protected].
Related Resources from Cambridge Associates
- Mission-Related Investing: Current Practices and Views of Non-Profit Investors, Cambridge Associates (2016)
- The Foundation of Good Governance for Family Impact Investors: Removing Obstacles and Charting a Path to Action, Cambridge Associates (September 2016)
- Risks and Opportunities From the Changing Climate: Playbook for the Truly Long-Term Investor, Cambridge Associates (December 2015)
- Introducing the Impact Investing Benchmark, Cambridge Associates and the Global Impact Investing Network (June 2015)
Related Resources from IEN
- Intentionally Designed Endowments Primer (2014, updated 2016)
- The Business Case for ESG (2016)
- Investing in Clean Energy: Campuses and Endowments (2016)
- Leading Practice Briefing on Fiduciary Duties for Endowments and Foundations Integrating Nonprofit Mission Goals into Investment Practices (2017)
The Intentional Endowments Network is a non-profit, peer-learning network advancing intentionally designed endowments -- that seek to enhance financial performance by aligning investments with institutional mission, values, and sustainability goals. Working closely with other leading organizations in the field, the Network engages key leaders and stakeholders in higher education, foundations, business, and non-profits. It provides opportunities for learning and education, peer networking, convening, thought-leadership and information exchange around a variety of sustainable investing strategies, such as ESG integration, impact investing, and shareholder engagement. For more information about IEN, please visit http://www.intentionalendowments.org.
About Cambridge Associates
Cambridge Associates is a leading global investment firm helping endowments, foundations, pension plans, and private clients maximize their impact on the world by building custom investment portfolios aimed at generating outperformance across all asset classes. CA Capital Management, Cambridge Associates' dedicated OCIO business, provides discretionary outsourcing services to institutions globally, and currently manages more than $20 billion in assets on behalf of more than 80 clients. The firm also provides traditional advisory services and access to research and tools across global asset classes. More than 1,300 employees are located in offices in Arlington, VA; New York; Boston; Dallas; Menlo Park and San Francisco, CA; Toronto; London, UK; Singapore; Sydney; and Beijing. For more information about Cambridge Associates, please visit www.cambridgeassociates.com.
View this press release on marketwired: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/cambridge-associates-intentional-endowments-network-outline-blueprint-action-investors-2222550.htm
The Intentional Endowments Network will host a Community Impact Investing Roundtable focused on opportunities for place-based investing. The Roundtable will convene endowment and foundation decision-makers and other stakeholders interested in enhancing their leadership on sustainable investing.
- Program Agenda
- Panel Videos
- Resources Related to Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11)
- Summary of the Event (on the IEN blog)
Date: Monday, June 11, 2018
Time: 1:00 - 6:30 pm
Location: The Boston Foundation, 75 Arlington Street #1000, Boston, MA
Size: ~40-50 participants
Theme: Community Impact Investing – This Roundtable event will explore a variety of community investment strategies, drawing on the experience of community foundations, philanthropic foundations, and endowments as well as investment managers and consultants. It will include a focus on practical approaches for higher education endowments to integrate community impact investing strategies in their portfolios. US SIF defines a “community investment” as having the following three core characteristics:
- A focus on marginalized areas or communities that conventional market activity does not reach (in practice, low-income neighborhoods or regions, communities of color, and underserved geographic regions such as rural communities);
- A focus on enabling the delivery of explicit social benefits (affordable housing, economic development, provision of needed goods and services at affordable rates, healthier outcomes) to those areas or communities; and
- A financial product available for investment that can be managed in terms of risk and return.*
As colleges and universities are often anchor institutions in their communities, the concept of place-based impact investing is a compelling prospect. In addition to generating financial return for the endowment, such investments have the potential for many ancillary benefits. Because they support a more prosperous and thriving local neighborhood they can help improve community relationships, lower crime rates, enhance safety, and attract students, faculty, and staff.
Audience: Senior administrators, trustees, and endowment/foundation staff from colleges and universities, community foundations, and other investor groups, as well as sustainable investment experts from investment management firms, advisory firms, non-profits, and other relevant stakeholders. The program will be designed primarily for participants who are interested in pursuing sustainable investment strategies on some level and looking to learn about community investment opportunities and how best to implement or advance such strategies.
Format: The format will be highly interactive, with brief presentations from expert speakers or panels to deliver content and seed conversation, integrated with significant time spent in small-group dialogue sessions at round tables.
Program design: Program content will be driven by responses from participants on what their key questions are on these topics at the time, and what they hope to get out of the event. The agenda will be designed to build through the afternoon to deliver necessary content, facilitate peer-to-peer information sharing and learning, and result in pragmatic, actionable outcomes for participants to take back to their institutional roles. Depending on participant feedback, potential topics may include:
- The state of the field in terms of endowment and foundation-ready community investment opportunities
- Proven models for endowments and foundations to earn a financial return while generating measurable positive impact in their local communities
- Discussions of themes and outcomes, e.g., jobs, affordable housing, innovation, clean energy
- Strategies for leveraging state and federal incentives, tax-equity partners, etc.
- Enhancing peer-to-peer support and learning across institutions among trustees, endowment and foundation staff and senior administrators
This event is generously sponsored by:
* US SIF, Initiative for Responsible Investment, and Milken Institute (2013). “Expanding the Market for Community Investment in the United States.”
IEN's bi-monthly newsletter provides an original article from a participant in the network, a spotlight on one school's endowment, updates from the IEN, the top recent news, new reports, and upcoming events.
- Spotlight: Climate Action Pursuit
- Featured Event: Climate Action Pursuit
- Spotlight: Warren Wilson College - Active Ownership in the Endowment
- Feature Article: Member Perspectives on Racial Equity in Endowment Investing
- Spotlight: Investing in Racial Equity: A Primer for College & University Endowments
- Feature Article: Member Perspectives on the Crisis
- Spotlight: Financial Performance of Sustainable Investing
- Feature Article: Managing Public Equity Portfolios through a Climate Risk Lens
- Spotlight: Member Post - Hope Is Not a Strategy
- Feature Article: Investors Wield Shareholder Power to Address Climate Investment Risks
- School Spotlight: California State University
- Feature Article: Wielding Alternative Debt Towards a Resilient Future
- Spotlight: 2020 Higher Ed Climate Leadership Summit - Registration Launched and Keynotes Announced
- Feature Article: Making An ESG Impact through Public Fixed-Income
- School Spotlight: Middlebury College
- Feature Resource: Addressing Climate Change Through a Private Equity Lens, Making An Impact
- Spotlight: Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit Agenda & Attendees
- Feature Resource: The Power and Impact of Community Investing
- Spotlight: Tony Cortese Named as AASHE Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
- Feature Resource: Gender Lens Investing Landscape - Barriers & Opportunities
- School Spotlight: University of New Hampshire
- Feature Resource: How to Start and Run a Student-Managed SRI Fund Toolkit
- School Spotlight: Lewis & Clark College and Becker College
- Special Edition: 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit Reflections
- Feature Resources: 'Fireside Chat: The Pitzer College Story' and 'Webinar: Passive ESG Strategies'
- School Spotlight: Hampshire College
- Feature Article: "The Intentionally Designed Endowment" By: Tony Cortese, Georges Dyer, and David Dinerman
- School Spotlight: Warren Wilson College
- Feature Article: "ESG Investing Trends: Common Approaches and Benchmarking" Q&A with: Thomas Kuh, Executive Director, MSCI and Paul Schutzman, Executive Director, MSCI
- Schools Spotlight: University System of Maryland Foundation
- Feature Article: "Considerations for ESG Policy Development" and "The Paris Agreement in the Investment Policy" By: The Intentional Endowments Network & Cambridge Associates
- School Spotlight: Higher Education Signatories of 'We Are Still In'
- Feature Article: "Fiduciary Duties for Endowments and Foundations: Integrating Nonprofit Mission Goals into Investment Practices" By: Megan Jackson and Keith Johnson
- School Spotlight: Unity College
- Feature Article: "Strategies for Investing in a Climate-Safe Future" By: Ken Locklin
- School Spotlight: Arizona State University
- Feature Article: "Investing in Clean Energy: Campuses and Endowments" By: IEN's Clean Energy Working Group
- School Spotlight: Luther College
- Feature Article: "Moving to 100% Impact Investing Across All Asset Classes: A How-To Guide" By: Paul Herman
- School Spotlight: Becker College
- Featured Article: "2016 Proxy Voting Brings Opportunity to Accelerate Corporate Sustainability Progress" By: Stuart Dalheim
- School Spotlight: University of California, Yale University, Loyola University, Bard College and Swarthmore College
- Featured Article: "Fiduciary Duty is Not an Obstacle to Addressing ESG" By: Sonal Mahida
- School Spotlight: San Francisco State University Foundation
- Featured Article: "Thoughts on ESG Investing and Fossil Fuel Consumption" By: Fred Rogers
- School Spotlight: University of California
- Featured Article: "Selling Stranded Assets: Profit, Protection, and Prosperity" By: Bob Litterman
- School Spotlight: Yale University
- Featured Article: "How Hampshire Invests" By: Jonathan Lash
- School Spotlight: Humboldt State University
- Winter 2021
We do not have any openings at this time.
Principal, Intentional Endowments Network