New Guide Helps College Endowments Promote Racial Equity

BOSTON, MA (August 20, 2020) – Colleges and universities around the country grappling with multiple intersecting crises now have a new tool to take actions that promote racial equity and support long-term well-being for their students, employees, communities, and institutions. Launched today, Investing in Racial Equity: A Primer for College & University Endowments guides higher education fiduciaries through key concepts, tools, and examples of investment strategies that manage the systemic risk posed by racial inequity, shape a more equitable economy, and deliver financial returns to sustain the institution.

And as lead author Jochebed Bogunjoko, Founder of J Aduke Consulting describes this work, “All of this really comes down to how you value people. If you truly believe in equality, then you believe every individual, no matter what they look like or where they come from, has an equal potential to contribute to society. If your workplace, school or endowment doesn’t reflect that, then it says everything about how you value people and very little about the value of the people themselves. Educational institutions have begun to really think deeply about how, as institutions and as a society, we devalue and in so doing dehumanize Black and Latino human beings. This Primer can help fiduciary leaders begin to reckon with how damaging this is to each of us as individuals, investors, and educators of the leaders of our future economy. Though this work focuses on Black and Latino people as drivers of economic value, my hope is that we’ve begun to move past this paradigm to see the value in each human life as inherent, no matter their race, gender, class, ability, religion, or other socially constructed marker of ‘value.’”

The Investing in Racial Equity primer was developed as part of the peer learning agenda of the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN), the leading convener of higher education and nonprofit endowment investors. This tool draws on the experience of IEN members as asset allocators, investment consultants, investment managers, and advisors, provides case studies of what is possible, and calls on all endowments to take action.

IEN Managing Director Alice DonnaSelva observed, “The Primer is a must-read for all college and university endowment fiduciaries who are called on to understand the full economic context in which they are investing and to consider the future beneficiaries of the endowment.”

“The Call to Action outlined in the Primer guides fiduciaries through the key steps to investing in racial equity from where they sit, regardless of where they are in the process,” said IEN Program Manager Kaede Kawauchi, who contributed to the report and supports IEN’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Working Group. “Next steps can look different from institution to institution but the key focus is on doing something - whether that is having a conversation about the issue, building board consensus on strategy, updating the investment policy statement, or investing and engaging with firms focused on racial equity.”

Higher education leaders are faced with both new and ongoing crises as the new academic year begins: keeping students and employees healthy during a pandemic; delivering education, research, and programs in new ways; maintaining financial stability during economic turmoil; and contributing to solutions to our social and environmental crises. Endowment investments are a key element of institutional sustainability, and an important connection between each institution, its community, and the broader economy. By adopting racial equity investing strategies, higher education as a sector can strengthen those connections, manage risk, and sustain its role in society.

 

About the Intentional Endowments Network

The Intentional Endowments Network is a non-profit, peer-learning network advancing intentionally designed endowments – those that seek to enhance financial performance by making investments that advance a low carbon, equitable and regenerative economy. Working closely with leading organizations, the network engages leaders and key stakeholders from higher education, foundations, business, and nonprofits. It provides opportunities for learning and education, peer networking, convening, thought leadership and information exchange around a variety of strategies (e.g., ESG integration, impact investing, and shareholder engagement). www.intentionalendowments.org

Contact:

Kaede Kawauchi, Program Manager, Intentional Endowments Network, kaede@intentionalendowments.org

Jochebed Bogunjoko, Founder, J Aduke Consulting, jadukeconsults.com 

Alice DonnaSelva, Managing Director, Intentional Endowments Network, alice@intentionalendowments.org

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