Winter 2019 Newsletter


In this issue of our newsletter, we share an exclusive Q&A article with industry experts who share their insight on opportunities within the private equity climate change arena and how managers and asset owners are measuring the impact of their investments.

We also share several updates from the network, including welcoming two new members to the IEN team, unveiling a new website, and highlighting the speakers and full agenda for the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, taking place from February 10-12 in Tempe, AZ, where we are excited to connect with many of you.

As always, please be in touch with any questions, news or ideas for IEN.

Warm regards,

The IEN Team

Q&A Article: Addressing Climate Change Through a Private Equity Lens, Making An Impact

“Climate change is an existential threat to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank Group, recently said. The World Bank Group is not alone in focusing on a more climate resilient future.

Climate change remains the most significant ESG issue for asset managers, who have more than doubled their investments to nearly $3 trillion into the space over the last two years, according to the U.S. SIF Foundation's biennial Report on U.S. Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing Trends. Moreover, the report found that private equity and venture capital ESG assets under management more than doubled to $283 billion with 565 funds.

Given these investment trends, Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) talked with industry experts to gain insight on opportunities within the private equity climate change arena and, how managers and asset owners are measuring the impact of their investments. The specialists included:



Nancy Pfund & Ira Ehrenpreis, Managing Partners and Co-founders at DBL Partners, a double bottom line venture capital management firm pursuing both financial and social returns



Jared Fuller, Head of Private Capital and Real Assets Research team at Prime Buchholz, an investment consulting firm




Liqian Ma & Tom Mitchell, Managing Directors at Cambridge Associates, a global investment firm



Simba Ndemera, CFO, at the Sierra Club Foundation and Tim O’Donnell, Senior Vice President, Fund Evaluation Group, outsourced CIO, on behalf of the Sierra Club Foundation


Read the full Q&A article here.



Featured Event: Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit

Next week, we will gather in Tempe, AZ for the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit!

Presented by the Intentional Endowments Network and Second Nature, the Summit is the premier event for college and university presidents, chancellors, trustees and endowment leaders focused on climate leadership by higher education. It is an opportunity to celebrate progress, and explore ways to scale local action to meet global goals by working across institutions and across sectors, including: 

  • The education and research priorities needed for a climate-safe future;
  • Endowment investment strategies to reduce climate risk and advance climate solutions;
  • Reducing campus emissions, through smart design, green building, renewable energy, and sustainable mobility; 
  • Partnering with communities, business, philanthropy, and policymakers to accelerate and scale climate solutions. 

We are looking forward to hearing from an excellent line-up of speakers, including Jeremy Grantham, Janet Napolitano, Mustafa Ali, Kristina Johnson, Sandy Urie, and Michael Crow.

View the full agenda here.

We look forward to connecting with many of you next week, and invite you to stay tuned for more information on next year's Summit, taking place in Atlanta, GA.

Additional Updates from the Network 

New IEN Members

We are pleased to welcome Church Investment GroupThe Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative (CIIC)Privos CapitalArnerich Massena, Inc.Essex Investment ManagementPythia CapitalImpact Shares and Jensen Investment Management to the Network! To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.

IEN Welcomes Two New Team Members

We are pleased to announce the addition of two new IEN team members this winter -- Erina McWilliam-Lopez and Hannah Bowen. Erina is our new Membership Manager. Previously, she was the Founding Associate Director of the Social Impact Lab at Lynn University which offers experiential learning in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, conscious leadership, and intercultural competency. Hannah is our new Network Manager. Prior to joining IEN, Hannah supported a network of international development advocates as Director of the ACTION Secretariat, leading a team at RESULTS Educational Fund in Washington, DC and working together with the ACTION partnership's members across 5 continents to influence policy and mobilize resources for health equity. Read Hannah and Erina's full bios on the IEN Team page, and join us in giving them a warm welcome!


In the past few months, IEN has hosted the following webinars. Follow the links to view recordings of each:

New IEN Website

We’re excited to share that we have recently launched our re-designed website! In response to your feedback, we’ve updated the Home Page and About IEN Page to better highlight the what, how and why of our network. We’ve also reorganized the website to help you better engage with the network, adding a Roadmap for Intentionally Designed Endowments and making it easier to navigate to the resources you need, the current member list, and upcoming events and webinars. Visit our new website here.


IEN Coordinates Successful NACUBO Webcast on Beneficial Long-Term Investing

In December 2018, IEN coordinated a webcast with NACUBO, introducing the Intentional Endowments Network and exploring how colleges and universities are achieving their risk and return objectives in their endowment portfolios while better aligning those portfolios with their institutions’ missions. The webcast was guided by the Roadmap for Intentionally Designed Endowments – a step by step process which grew out of the experiences of our network of colleges and universities.You can view the slides from the webcast here.

Working Groups

IEN Working Groups meet regularly to advance key strategies in support of the network's goals. Below is a brief update of what current Working Groups have accomplished.

  • Racial Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group: The Working Group, focused on improving endowment investment decision-making in higher education to better incorporate factors related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), has organized a number of activities in the past few months. The group hosted a webinar in November, recently conducted a survey to assess how IEN members incorporate DEI factors in their decision-making, and will host a session at the upcoming Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. The session at the Summit will discuss strategies to bring DEI topics to the forefront of conversations around climate leadership and sustainable investing, focusing on the role of communities of color in addressing climate change and sustainability. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Kaede at [email protected].

  • Gender Lens Investing Working Group: Last Fall, in partnership with Suzanne Biegel, Founder of Catalyst at Large, IEN launched a new working group focused on gender lens investing (to increase returns and minimize risk, intentionally integrating gender as a factor in financial analysis). For the past few months, the working group has been developing a gender lens investing primer for college and university endowments to increase awareness of the favorable risk/return profiles of gender-influenced investments, and how this investing strategy fits into an overall intentional investing approach. If you are passionate about increasing higher education endowments investing with a gender lens, please reach out to Nicole at [email protected] for more information, and to join our next call.

  • Fiduciary Duty & Policy:  Last Fall, this group produced a paper that guides endowment decision makers in finding an investment consultant to assist in incorporating ESG into their portfolio investment process. The paper, Hiring an Investment Consultant: Making Your ESG Intention Actionable, is available on our website. After publishing the paper, the working group turned its attention to fiduciary education. Topics discussed included fiduciaries as active owners, a behavioral governance framework and assessment instrument developed by 3Ethos, informed proxy voting, and partnering with AGB to sponsor a study on board formation, education, and diversity.  A recent paper on the role of fiduciaries in proxy voting is available here. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Alice at [email protected].


  • SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning and Knowledge) Network: IEN coordinates the SIILK Network, which brings together stakeholders involved with student-managed sustainable investing funds and sustainable investing curriculum development. Stakeholders include students, faculty, administrators, trustees, and financial professionals on campuses across the country. Participants share best practices, resources, curricula and undertake other activities to support sustainable investing education. If you are interested in connecting with these stakeholders to share best practices and advance the development of sustainably invested student-managed funds and sustainable finance curriculum, please reach out to Nicole at [email protected].

  • Shareholder Engagement:  An email list has been created to share investor sign-on opportunities with working group members and other interested asset owners.  Details of the sign-on opportunities and how to act upon them are also available under the 'Take Action' tab of our newly redesigned website. If you are interested in participating in this group or joining the list to receive sign-on opportunities, please reach out to Alice at [email protected].

  • Trustee Peer Group: The Trustee Peer Group is currently focused on bringing new members into the group to create more opportunities for peer-to-peer learning among college and university fiduciaries on sustainable investing. The group was involved in two successful sessions at the AGB 2018 Foundation Leadership Forum, and the group has designed and will present a session for Trustees at The Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, taking place Feb. 10-12, 2019 in Tempe, AZ. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Tony at [email protected]


Upcoming Events

IEN Events:


Other Events:


To view more upcoming events, click here

Featured Resources

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.

Resources from IEN:

Other Resources:

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, manage your mailing preferences here.

IEN in the News:

Other News:

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 Nicole Torrico at [email protected].


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