Spring 2022 Newsletter

In this Earth Month issue of our newsletter, we continue to highlight how the endowment community can engage on climate action urgency and the need to include underrepresented communities at the decision-making table of climate solutions, key themes that were discussed at this month's 2022 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. Summit participants can now watch the summit sessions recordings and are welcome to leave us their feedback to help us plan for the 2023 Summit in Miami Florida.

We also invite you to join us as an audience member for this year's Student Corporate Engagement Competition Finals on Friday April 29th at 3pm ET to hear the finalist's cutting edge strategies to improve company business performance and impact on society. The winners will be announced Live!

Finally, we are encouraging all IEN members and friends to sign-on to this statement in support of the proposed SEC Climate Disclosure Rule, and reach out to us if interested in submitting your own comment letter ahead of the May 20th deadline.

Warm Regards,

The IEN Team

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Sustainable Retirement Initiative New Member Spotlight: Q&A with Alex Wright-Gladstein, CEO and Founder of Sphere
Natalie Calandro recently spoke with Alex Wright-Gladstein, CEO and Founder of Sphere, a company that is making it easy for employers to offer climate-friendly investment options to their employees via their company’s 401(k) or 403(b) retirement savings plans. Alex joined the IEN Sustainable Retirements Initiative earlier this year – take a look at their conversation HERE!
Spotlight: 2022 Higher Ed Climate Leadership Summit

This year’s Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit brought together over 650 registrants, 16 sponsors, 23 Host Institutions and 11 organization partners. See a snapshot of summit participants here

The four days of the programing covered a range of higher education sustainability topics across operations, endowment investing, academics, and policy. These courageous conversations offered participants unique opportunities to connect on the urgency of climate action and the ways to drive capital toward solutions and frontline communities.

“I liked the wide variety of sessions to choose from and the push to focus on what we can all do to help move towards a cleaner future!”

“I loved learning about what we can do beyond the land acknowledgement--that was my most powerful take away”

Quick Request:

Please take a few minutes to complete our 2022 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit Feedback Survey to help inform the initial planning process for the 2023 Summit in Miami, Florida next February.

Access Summit Recording

  • Log into the Airmeet Summit site with your log-in, go to the session (Agenda) you want to watch, and click on the “Watch Replay” button. (Access available to summit participants only)


Feature Blog: ValuesAdvisor & IEN: Connecting Endowments With Qualified Advisors

It's quite challenging to find trusted financial professionals when working to align your values. IEN's recent partnership with ValuesAdvisor, a vetted database of values-aligned financial professionals aim to make it easy for endowments to find trusted financial professionals to help them achieve their sustainability goals. Learn more and get IEN's access code to the platform HERE

Updates from the Network
New IEN Members

We are pleased to welcome Amnesty International USA, Angeleno Group, Diffractive Managers Group, EnTrust Global, Global Investor Collaboration Services, Ownership Capital, Sphere, and V-Square Quantitative Management to the Network! To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.

IEN Team News

This Spring, we welcomed Paris Prince as the Director of Justice Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) at IEN. Paris is passionate about cultivating and promoting inclusive partnerships across lines of difference to support empowerment and social change.

Paris Prince

Harrison Ungar

Director of Justice Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) at IEN Program Manager - Sustainable Investing

We were also delighted to welcome Harrison Ungar, IEN’s Program Manager - Sustainable Investing. Prior to IEN, Harrison worked with social enterprises and venture capital firms as a management consultant and will be leading IEN’s membership stewardship and growth as well as IEN’s data management and impact metric tracking and analysis.

Recent Webinars

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

(Summit participants can watch session recordings by watching logging into the Airmeet Summit site with their summit log-in informations)

Upcoming Events

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

(Summit participants can watch session recordings by watching logging into the Airmeet Summit site with their summit log-in informations)

Upcoming Events

Please join us for our upcoming IEN events:

Other Events

IEN's Focus Areas
Sustainable Retirements: ESG Options for Retirement Plans

As part of IEN’s Sustainable Retirement Initiative, we launched our Guide to Sustainable Retirements. This guide is designed to provide practical information relevant to plan sponsors, human resources and finance officers and personnel, advocates, employees, investment advisors, legal scholars, and others. It aims to address misconceptions related to the use of ESG funds in retirement plans. In addition, this guide contains modules on financial performance and fiduciary duty concerns, a how-to guide for plan sponsors evaluating the addition of ESG funds to retirement plans, and steps outlining how to advocate for ESG integration in retirement plans.

Read the full Guide here.

Sustainable retirement News:

Supported by: Natixis, Federated Hermes, Schroders, TIAA

SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning & Knowledge) Network
  • SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning & Knowledge) Network:

    10 student teams from colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada (Arizona State University, Bard College, Central Washington University, New York University: Stern School of Business, Presidio Graduate School, Ryerson University, University of California Berkeley: Haas School of Business, University of Minnesota, and Virginia Wesleyan University) have submitted investment recommendations and proposed engagement strategies for consideration in this year’s ​​Student Corporate Engagement Competition.

    Join us on April 29th, from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. ET to hear from our Finalists as they present their final deliverables and discuss their cutting edge strategies to improve company business performance and impact on society.

    Visit the Competition's webpage to learn more, and if interested in participating in next year's Competition as a student team, partner, or sponsor, please complete this form to indicate your interest.

    To connect on additional ways to be a part of our work supporting sustainable investing education through SIILK, reach out to Nicole at [email protected]

Supported by: TIAA and Federated Hermes

Net Zero Endowments
  • Net Zero Endowments: IEN’s Net Zero Endowments Initiative continued to promote its new white paper on the intersection of net zero portfolios and investing with a JEDI-lens: Leading with Justice: Net Zero Investing & Conversations on Climate Justice. We had two fantastic sessions at our Summit earlier this month focused on Net Zero Portfolios, and have initiated a guest speaker series as part of the NZ Steering Committee's monthly calls. We are encouraging investors to sign-on two important statements, one in support of the SEC Climate Disclosure Rule, and the 2022 Global Investor Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis - visit our Investor Statements page to sign-on to these and other important opportunities.

We encourage investors to get involved with this initiative and make net zero portfolio commitments. Please visit the Net Zero Endowments page for more information and resources and contact [email protected] to learn more.

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

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)
  • IEN’s JEDI Initiative maintained a focus on climate justice at the final milestone of the Climate Action Pursuit in December to illustrate how the problem and the solution are intertwined with our legacies of colonialism and environmental racism. We continued to promote the Belonging Pledge and Due Diligence 2.0 initiatives; and advanced our work with the Racial Equity Investing Coalition, including promoting Confluence Philanthropy’s upcoming Belonging Townhall on May 18th. We also advanced relationships and partnerships between IEN and other groups advancing JEDI in investing, such as NAIC, Institutional Allocators for DEI, and IDiF. IEN’s JEDI Working Group that continues to meet quarterly to facilitate learning and collaboration on these topics. Learn more here about joining this community, participating in joint work, or sponsoring.

Supported by Prime Buchholz and Global Endowment Management

Investment Governance Working Group
  • We are planning our first meeting of the new Investment Governance Working Group for early summer. This group combines our Fiduciary Duty & Policy working group. The new group will monitor developments in fiduciary duty law and governance best practices; and develop educational offerings for Trustees and Investment Committee members on ESG and mission-aligned investing. Contact [email protected] about participating in this new working group.
Shareholder Engagement

On the call, As You Sow will share more about our partnership with their ESG aligned proxy voting service (As You Vote), which was created to streamline the process of proxy voting along ESG guidelines for endowments. Warren Wilson College (WWC) will also share their experience utilizing the service, including how in 2021, WWC cast 13,000 proxy votes at 1,200 companies, and working with IEN and As You Sow, submitted shareholder proposals at 20 companies for the 2021-2022 proxy season.

Additional highlighted sign-on and voting opportunities as well as proxy resolutions and voting guides are available on the Sign-On to Investor Statements’ page on IEN’s website.

If you have interest in getting involved in our shareholder engagement work, reach out to [email protected]

Featured Resources
Resources from IEN Blog
Other Resources from the Field
In the News
IEN in the News

Read more coverage of the network here

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

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

  • Bentley University: Bentley University announced its 2021 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, and commits to carbon neutrality by 2030.
  • Carleton University: Carlston University has updated its responsible investment policies to include a commitment to divest its endowment from fossil fuel and to achieve significant decarbonization of its portfolios by 2030.
  • Marquette University: Marquette University’s Board of Trustees has approved an updated investment policy for the university endowment with new socially responsible investing that strictly prohibits direct investments in public securities whose primary business is the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels. The university’s current investment portfolio does not include any direct public investments in fossil fuels.
  • Rice University: Rice Management Co. (RMC) committed to reducing emissions related to fossil fuel plans for their endowment’s energy portfolio to be carbon neutral by 2030.
  • UVIMCO: The University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO) announced its commitment to ESG and a NetZero investment portfolio by 2050.


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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 Sorelle Ngatchou at [email protected].

View past issues of IEN’s weekly news summary online here.

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