Intentional Endowments Network Builds Momentum

Boston, MA (May 2, 2017) -- Endowments are getting serious about factoring environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into their investment process. Just over a year ago the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) -- a peer network that supports endowment investment practices that address ESG and sustainability factors to enhance both financial returns and align with institutional mission and values -- launched its membership program with 77 Founding Members.

Founding Members included: Arizona State University Foundation, Becker College, California State University, Calvert Investments, Carleton College, Hampshire College, Hanley Foundation, Lane Community College, Lewis & Clark College, Litterman Family Foundation, Middlebury College, Portland State University, San Francisco State University Foundation, UBS Asset Management, University of Maine and University of Massachusetts Foundation.

Through the membership program, IEN facilitates connections with experts and peers to support administrators and trustees in enhancing their institutions’ approach to sustainable investment and addressing stakeholders’ concerns.

“The Intentional Endowments Network has been instrumental in advancing our progress on ESG and sustainable investing at the San Francisco State University (SFSU) Foundation,” said IEN Founding Member Robert Nava, Vice President of University Advancement at SFSU. “By providing venues for learning and exploration, IEN has enabled us to connect with peers and experts who have accelerated our leadership in this space. As a result, we continue to build on our original commitment to fossil fuel divestment, establishing a $5 million green investment fund and updating our Investment Policy Statement to formalize our commitment to ESG integration. We look forward to continuing to work through the Network to advance our efforts and help all endowments invest in a sustainable future.”  

Building on the Network’s 77 Founding Members, IEN membership program increased by over 40% to 110 within its first year. New members include Chatham University, Pitzer College, Loyola University Chicago, University System of Maryland Foundation, Villanova University, BlackRock, The Mennonite Education Agency, NEPC, Bloomberg L.P., ISS, and numerous other institutions of higher education, foundations, financial services companies, investment managers, consultants, and others interested in supporting the network. A full list of current members and information about membership may be found here.

Some of the major accomplishments of the Network over the past year included:

  • Producing several guides and resources to facilitate knowledge exchange and peer to peer networking
  • Hosting multiple events, which included a total of seven interactive, action-oriented forums for senior decision makers with partners around the country. Recent keynote speakers includeformer Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, David Blood of Generation Management, Jeremy Coller of Coller Capital and the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) Initiative, Ira Ehrenpreis of DBL Partners, and Jagdeep Bachher, CIO of the University of California, Regents. 

IEN members also contributed to creating new resources for the field, such as:

  • briefing paper to help trustees and other stakeholders understand the business case for ESG,
  • white paper designed to encourage conversation about the financial and societal benefits of clean energy investments in higher education,
  • guide outlining potential questions for investment managers on their proxy voting and other shareholder engagement activities around ESG, and
  • an updated version of our primer providing a baseline understanding of the key issues related to aligning investment practices with institutional mission and values.

“As ESG and impact investing moves quickly into the mainstream with more and more high performing investment opportunities, endowments are really focusing on integrating sustainability factors into investment policies and practices,” said Georges Dyer, co-founder and principal of IEN.  “Colleges and universities have an incredible opportunity to earn strong financial returns while serving as role models for the rest of society by aligning all of their activities with creating a healthy, just, and sustainable future. This collaborative network is accelerating that progress.”


About the Intentional Endowments Network

The Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) is a collaborative network advancing intentionally designed endowments through a variety of strategies – including ESG integration, impact investing, shareholder engagement – that will make a significant and critical contribution to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable society.  It supports colleges, universities, and other mission-driven organizations in aligning their endowment investment practices with their mission, values, and sustainability goals without sacrificing financial returns. IEN is an initiative of The Crane Institute of Sustainability, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit. It is coordinated by Georges Dyer and Tony Cortese and is based in Boston, MA

About the IEN



Georges Dyer

Principal, Intentional Endowments Network

[email protected]









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