The University YMCA established an endowment in 1952 to ensure the Association's long-term sustainability could be built upon a perpetual foundation of financial assets. In 1992, the Association adopted a policy requiring its investments to be managed in a socially responsible manner consistent with our mission and values. This means we use a set of priorities to determine what we will actively seek to invest in or avoid in our investments. This approach is referred to as "socially responsible investing (SRI)," or sometimes "environmental, social, governance (ESG)" investing.
We updated our policy in 2016 and 2023 using input from students, board members, trustees, and staff. Read the latest version here.
Guided by our mission, we have identified twelve (12) issue areas or topics that form the basis for our investment priorities.
- Climate Change
- Toxic Chemicals
Genocide & Slavery
These positive and negative "screens" inform our investment decisions. We evaluate investment options at the company-level using third-party data from watchdog organizations or government agencies.
- Positive screens are indicators that an investment advances a priority of the University YMCA.
- Negative screens indicate that an investment advances something we wish to avoid or prevent.
Postive Screen Example
Negative Screen Example
Measure: Companies that prohibit discrimination and termination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity receive a score of 100%, while companies that do not receive a score of 0%.
Source: NGO Watchdog
Measure: Companies that maintain, supply, or otherwise enable 1) Militarization of the US-Mexico Border, 2) Incarceration and detention facilities, and 3) Immigrant monitoring and surveillance, in any capacity, receive a score of 100% for being involved in migrant border detention. Companies not involved in any of those activities receive a score of 0%.
Source: NGO Watchdog
How We Use SRI Impact Data
Most investments can be evaluated on a variety of criteria - sometimes scoring higher on some and lower on others. Our Board of Trustees reviews this information to determine the potential impact of a given investment decision on the full matrix of priorities contained in our investment policy. This information is then considered alongside data on financial performance when making decisions.
All of our investments are drawn from a set of socially responsible options identified by our investment management firm, which specializes in SRI / ESG. We further limit those options to companies that are deemed to invite and respond to greater shareholder engagement.
We regularly review both the financial and SRI impact performance of our investments. We compare our portfolio to a non-SRI benchmark portfolio that mirrors the asset allocation of our endowment. You can read a recent SRI impact report here.
Prudent, Values-driven Oversight.
Our Board of Trustees (BOT) is responsible for the management and investment of our endowed funds. The BOT is a twenty-five member body appointed by the Board of Governors. An Investment Committee, selected by the BOT, provides direct oversight of investments subject to review and approval by the full BOT.
In 2016, the Association issued an RFP to select an investment manager specializing in SRI / ESG. We selected SharePower Responsible Investing.
Our Board of Governors has final authority and fiduciary responsibility for the Association's assets.