As the investable assets of nonprofit entities, endowments comprise an important segment of institutional investment capital. A growing focus on how these assets can successfully invest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies has shed new light on the potential for gender lens investing by endowments.
A 2019 report by the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) summarized the key steps to gender lens investing by university and college endowments, from buy-in and participation by stakeholders to a robust investment selection process and disclosures around results and progress. The report found that diversity and inclusion is an increasingly material factor in decision-making among college and university endowment stakeholders.
In 2020, the IEN followed this study with an examination of how university and college endowments are successfully meeting objectives with ESG investing. Its findings illustrated that, under growing stakeholder demand for sustainable investments by universities and colleges, higher-education endowment fiduciaries can invest funds in mission-aligned ESG strategies while maintaining target financial returns. The IEN report found that many of the analyzed endowment funds that used ESG strategies met or outperformed their benchmarks. As this expansion into ESG continues, gender lens investing by endowments is poised for growth.
The above is a excerpt from a piece by Marypat Thenell Smucker featured on TheImpactivate.com.