Aligning Charitable Investments with Values

Giving Voice Spring 2022: Giving Matters

Pragya S. Murphy, MBA, CAP® Senior Philanthropic Advisor

When making personal investment decisions, many people choose funds that provide a social impact while helping them reach their financial goals. In the same way, the philanthropic sector is finding that in- vestment choices are becoming another way for foundations to make a positive impact beyond their grantmaking programs. As we make intentional decisions related to the issues affecting our community, our board of directors decided to offer a Sustainable Responsible Impact (SRI) investment pool for our fundholders who want to generate a competitive market return while considering social and environmental benefits. New and existing fundholders can now choose either our main investment pool or the SRI pool for their fund.

“The addition of the SRI investment pool is a meaningful next step in the evolution of our impact investing,” said Caragh Fahy, Finance Committee chair. “Donors can now choose the dual impact of supporting local charities with their grants while also investing in a portfolio that supports important values.” This strategy, which has grown significantly in the U.S. over the past few years, incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the investment process.

Many of our peer community foundations across the country have experienced strong growth in their SRI investments. Our Finance Committee works with Crewcial Partners, our long-term investment consul- tant, to choose investments for the SRI pool that have positive social impacts in the areas identified by our board members. These areas are community, leadership, diversity, excellence, service, empathy, compassion, justice and respect. Crewcial Partners will identify funds to remove or include based on specific ESG factors, such as emphasis on environmental integrity, and diversity, equity and inclusion. The ESG factors are guided by the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which all United Nations member states adopted in 2015. The SDGs provide a collective roadmap to achieve a sustainable future for all the world.

We capitalized our SRI investment pool with an existing field-of-interest fund that aligns with identified values: supporting the environment, outdoor parks and recreation areas; providing access for hunting and fishing; and other programs involving youth. We hope to grow our SRI investment pool over the next few years with support from existing and prospective fundholders. We also hope to deploy more of our permanent funds to align with the chosen values of this new investment pool.

To learn more about our new SRI pool, please contact Pragya Murphy at: pmurphy@cnycf.org or 315-883-5540

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