Divest-Invest Philanthropy has announced that its signatories have been awarded the 2016 Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Award for Brave Philanthropy for their commitment to divest from fossil fuel companies and invest in clean-energy solutions.
A hundred and forty philanthropic organizations — representing $12 billion in assets — received the inaugural award from CIVICUS, an international civil society alliance based in South Africa. Launched in January 2014 by the Wallace Global Fund, Divest-Invest Philanthropy calls on its signatories to rid themselves of investments in the top two hundred fossil fuel companies and invest at least 5 percent of their portfolios in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean technology within a five-year period. Signatories include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Trust Africa, and the Leonardo DiCaprio, Children's Investment Fund, Velux, Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy, and Mary Robinson foundations.
"We added a Brave Philanthropy category to our Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards because we wanted to celebrate examples of donors taking risks, of supporting unpopular causes, of pushing themselves and others to deliver better outcomes," said CIVICUS secretary general Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah. "Divest-Invest is a fantastic example of donors walking the talk on something that should be mission-critical to everyone."
"If you own fossil fuels, you own climate change," said Wallace Global Fund executive director Ellen Dorsey. "Climate change will impact the mission of every foundation. We should heed the demands of the global climate justice movement calling on investors to withdraw their funds from fossil fuels. We receive charitable tax-status because we serve the social good, and our investments should as well. Philanthropy isn't just any investor."