Winter 2023 Newsletter


We were thrilled to see many of you and hear from inspiring speakers last month at our annual 2023 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit.

The current state of ESG investing was a large focus at the Summit, and we’re excited to see more states starting to push back against the anti-ESG attacks and encourage investors to continue reframing the narrative by sharing the actions and progress they’re making in addressing climate justice.

Over the past few months, Western New England University, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Mount Mary joined the list of signatories of our Sustainable Retirement Plans Pledge. Ten student teams signed-up to participate in the 2023 Student Corporate Engagement Challenge, and we received funding from the Tipping Point Fund to support the development of an ‘Endowment Impact Benchmark’ to recognize progress on sustainable investing and to encourage the adoption of emerging impact standards.

Reach out with interest to engage in our focus areas below, and always feel free to send updates our way to include in future newsletters.

Warm regards,

The IEN Team

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Spotlight: 2023 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit
We hosted IEN and Second Nature’s annual Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit at the University of Miami February 5-7, 2023. The 300+ attendees included college and university presidents, trustees, endowment stakeholders, sustainability staff, and businesses and firms supporting sustainable investing, procurement, and operations.

Learn more in our blog post providing a summary of the Summit!

Podcast: Beyond Carbon

Listen to our Beyond Carbon Podcast!


Georges Dyer and Chris Ito of FFI Solutions are joined by diverse thought leaders to discuss climate change, net zero, DEIJ (diversity, equity, inclusion & justice), ESG, and the benefits and challenges of sustainable investing.

Episode 1: Taking Inventory: The State of Sustainable Investing

In their inaugural Beyond Carbon episode, Georges Dyer and Chris Ito reflect on COP27 and discuss what makes them hopeful, and skeptical, about the future of sustainable investing. They also provide a preview of future episodes.

Episode 2: Endowments and Investor Responsibility: UVIMCO’s Journey

Chris and George talk with UVIMCO’s Cornelia Horner for insights on how one of the largest and most well-respected endowment managers committed to and is implementing a responsible investment strategy.

Episode 3: ESG and Sustainable Investing the Sun Devil Way

Chris and Georges talk with Arizona State University CIO Jeff Mindlin about the journey to align investment practices with the sustainability goals and commitments of a large public university.

Updates from the Network
New IEN Members

New IEN Members

IEN Team News

Amita Schultes, Ph.D., Partner at Agility

Amita Schultes, Ph.D. joins IEN’s steering committee to help guide the Network’s direction and programming. Amita has been a partner and client portfolio manager at Agility where she provides outsourced CIO services to endowments, foundations, family offices, corporations and sovereign wealth funds.


Tim Coffin, Head of Strategic Partnerships Sustainability Committee Chair at Breckinridge

We also welcomed Tim Coffin, Head of Strategic Partnerships Sustainability Committee Chair at Breckinridge, our Net Zero Endowments Steering Committee.Tim brings over 35 years of fixed income and additional sustainability experience to the role.

Recent Webinars

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

Upcoming Events

Please join us for our upcoming IEN events:

Other Events

IEN's Focus Areas
SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning & Knowledge) Network

Student teams from institutions across the country are busy preparing deliverables and connecting with mentors for the 2023 Student Corporate Engagement Challenge. Challenge workshops have included hands-on training from sustainable investing firms including Arjuna Capital, Liontrust Asset Management, Zevin Asset Management, and Stance Capital.

We’d like to thank our workshop leaders, mentors, judges, and our sponsor OMNIResearch for their support of the Challenge!

Lead Sponsor:

Sustainable Retirements: ESG Options for Retirement Plans

At the end of 2022, the DOL released its new rule on ESG investing in retirement plans – clarifying that ESG factors can be considered financially material in investment selection and that sustainable funds can be used as the default investments on plan menus. On December 15, 2022, IEN hosted its Sustainable Retirements Quarterly Call to discuss the new rule. This interactive meeting, “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” included brief presentations from legal and investment experts sharing their views on the rule. You can watch the full recording on IEN’s website.

Additionally, during the webinar, Brad Campbell, Partner, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, presented the topic, “DOL Clears the Path for Prudent ERISA-Covered Retirement Plan Investment in ESG: What Does it Mean in Practice?” Watch the recording of Brad’s presentation to learn more.

We are also excited to announce a number of new signatories to our Sustainable Retirement Plans Pledge: Western New England University, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Mount Mary University! The Pledge remains open for additional signatories. Institutions can sign here or contact Chris Walker at [email protected] for more information.

Read the full Guide to Sustainable Retirements.

Lead Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

Net Zero Endowments

Net zero endowments were a significant focus at the 2023 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. We’d like to thank panelists Douglas Chau, Tim Coffin, Jeff Mindlin, Pedro Henriques da Silva, Kelly Major Green, Megan Hammond, and David Loehwing for sharing their insights and expertise at the convening for our session, “Net Zero Portfolios: Definitions, Centering Climate Justice, Engagement & Implementation”!

A number of steps toward climate-risk-integrated portfolios have been made in recent months, further driving the transition to a clean and just economy. Among them are Northwestern University’s new fossil fuel investment guidelines, the Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation’s recently updated investment strategy and joining of the Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance, and San Francisco State University Foundation’s plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

This progress further emphasizes the need to continue to have conversations around net zero and its role in the energy transition. Learn more about IEN’s net zero endowments initiative, net zero commitments from endowments, and net zero resources here.

Lead Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Centering justice was the focus of our 2023 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, where we hosted an HBCU workshop that gave leaders of Black colleges an opportunity to share concerns, strategize, and action plan in a space devoted to identifying and supporting their needs.

Monday and Tuesday saw numerous sessions that integrated a JEDI lens, including through welcoming Betty Osceola to our opening keynote and a plenary panel on JEDI in the endowment. You can view select JEDI-focused sessions from this year’s Summit on our website.

Lead Sponsors

Investment Governance

IEN’s Investment Governance Initiative steering committee convened for the first time this quarter. Its goals center around several topics, including engaging with endowment decision-makers and implementing best investment governance practices with asset managers and allocators.

The Initiative is building consensus amongst trustees and other endowment fiduciaries to advance sustainable investing strategies via dialogue and action. At the 2023 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, we continued these conversations in a session on “Developing a Diverse Board & Advancing Conversations Across Social Equity and Climate,” featuring IEN leadership members, including Board Chair Dianne Dillon-Ridgley. The Initiative will continue integrating justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and climate solutions as part of fiduciary duty best practices.

Contact Harrison Ungar at [email protected] to be part of and learn more about the Initiative.

Shareholder Engagement

Our most recent shareholder engagement learning opportunity was a webinar with As You Sow on their ESG aligned proxy voting platform, As You Vote. Participants heard examples of colleges and universities currently using the service and the impact they're having through their votes, and asked questions and engaged in conversation on next steps.

If you’re interested in getting involved with IEN’s shareholder engagement initiative to drive change through active ownership, contact Nicole Torrico at [email protected]

Featured Resources
Resources from IEN

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.

From IEN’s Blog:

Endowment Sustainable Investing Reports:

Other Resources from the Field

Sustainable and Impact Investing: Insights and Perspectives | Cambridge Associates

Actionable Insights – Top ESG Themes In 2023 | ISS ESG

Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index | FAIRR

ESG Trends to Watch in 2023 | V-Square Asset Management

Leading Lobbying Practices to Drive 1.5C Policy | ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility)

ESG and Climate Trends to Watch for 2023 | MSCI

In the News
IEN 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 every Friday, manage your mailing preferences here.

IEN in the News:

Foundations Up Allocations to Women- and Minority-Owned Managers | Fund Fire

Pillar One Of The Path To Inclusive Capitalism: Incorporate Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion Into Governance | Forbes

Want The Existing Managers In Your Investment Portfolio To Become More Diverse And Inclusive? Try This | Forbes

The Tipping Point Fund on Impact Investing (TPF) Awards $3.2 Million in Grants to 16 Organizations Working to Improve Data, Metrics and Measurement | The Tipping Point Fund

Read more coverage of the network here.

Recent Announcements About Endowments Aligning Their Investments with Institutional Goals

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

U Sherbrooke Achieves STARS Platinum | AASHE

IEN Member University of Sherbrooke achieved a STARS Platinum rating from AASHE. Its latest STARS report highlights its Sustainable Development Action Plan 2018-2022, carbon neutrality, which was achieved in 2022.

University of Michigan to Invest in Socially Responsible Companies | Detroit Free Press

University of Michigan will invest $300M of its short-term working capital with an ESG lens, and will move some of its money to community banks in Flint, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Detroit.

Penn Announces It No Longer Holds Direct Investments In Fossil Fuel Companies | The Daily Pennsylvanian

The University of Pennsylvania announced its divestment of all direct holdings in fossil fuel companies.

Ivey Foundation to Wind Up, Granting $100 Million Endowment Over Next Five Years | Yahoo

The Ivey Foundation will wind up its operations by 2027 and will begin distributing its $100M endowment in 2023 to address climate change and advance Canada’s progress toward a low-carbon economy.

University of Maine Moves $72 Million to SSGA Fossil Free Strategy

University of Maine System, Bangor, approved an investment of about $72 million in State Street Global Advisors' passive domestic large-cap fossil free reserves-free strategy for its $320 million managed investment pool of endowment assets.

Received this email as a forward from a colleague? Subscribe to IEN's news updates here.

Want to submit an original piece or support our work? Contact Sorelle Ngatchou at [email protected].

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


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