How is the tuition you pay to your school invested? What does your money support? Is your money being invested responsibly or is your school profiting from investments in companies that support or are complicit in human rights violations? This tool is designed to help you answer these questions.
To use this tool you will need a list of investments held by your school in their endowment or in other investment funds. Your school’s endowment is its collection of financial assets which are invested to ensure the institution's long term financial health. The endowment will be invested in a variety of assets and it is usually overseen by your school's Board of Trustees with day-to-day management overseen by an investment office or officer who works with outside consultants and finance professionals. Gaining information on how your school's endowment is invested can be difficult.
The Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC) is a group that can provide you with more information on how to investigate your school's investments. They provide a variety of resources that can help you through this initial research phase. They may also be helpful as you decide how to take action. Go here to see the many resources REC has produced to aid in campaign development, including handbooks, sample proposals, sample initiatives, webinars, and success stories. The REC can also help you research your endowment (contact: email@example.com). Their webinars also outline in more detail ways to find out what companies your schools are invested in. Possible sources of information include 990 Forms, Money Market Directories, The Securities and Exchange Commission Database, and FOIA requests (for public universities).
Once you have obtained a list of investments held by your university they can be uploaded into this tool. The tool will scan your list, compare it to the databases you have selected, and will then provide you with a list of companies appearing in both locations. This will allow you to quickly identify problematic companies that are held in your school’s investment portfolio. For a thorough, step-by-step guide to using the tool, as well as answers to some frequently asked questions, please click here.
Once you have obtained a list of companies of concern that are held by your school you will need to make decisions about how to take action. It is important to understand that to create an effective responsible investment campaign at your college or university you can use many different strategies to target companies. In some cases you may ask your school to engage in corporate dialogue and/or file and vote on shareholder resolutions demanding change in corporate behavior. In other instances you may work to develop an internal screen to prevent investment in companies that are engaged in particular actions, and in still other instances you may push for divestment.
If you have questions regarding results obtained using this tool and what next steps you might want to take as you build a socially responsible investment campaign, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.