Following a process involving its board, staff, and advisors, the Nathan Cummings Foundation has announced that it will align 100 percent of its half-billion-dollar endowment with efforts that advance its mission of creating a more just, vibrant, sustainable, and democratic society and finding solutions to the climate crisis and growing inequality.
Joining the growing number of foundations that have aligned their investments in companies and strategies that further their missions, the New York City-based NCF has already begun to assess the mission-alignment of its investments and develop a pipeline of investment strategies across its portfolios. Throughout that process, NCF has worked with Sonen Capital to develop a set of recommendations, and going forward it will partner with Global Endowment Management to manage the transition.
"This is a concrete step that illustrates that capital can and must reflect our values to advance social issues," said trustee Rey Ramsey. "It comes at the right time because we have capital disparities in far too many communities where quality ideas and business plans go unfilled. Our commitment not only advances philanthropy and impact investing, it advances the work of our partners on the front lines of these issues."
NCF has a long history of leveraging its endowment and investments to further its mission and was one of the first foundations to use shareholder advocacy and active ownership strategies to directly engage with companies. It also was a founding signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing and has voted on thousands of proxies associated with the stocks it owns.
"Our decision reflects our values and our aspirations, our assessment of the market, and the opportunity for NCF to both join and leverage a chorus of philanthropic and private sector investors changing the landscape for investing and the business model of philanthropy," said NCF president Sharon Alpert. "The problems we are working on — like the climate crisis and growing inequality — will not be solved by grantmaking alone. Capital markets have to change to drive sustainable and inclusive growth that will create long-term value for people, the planet, and the economy. How we invest our assets and leverage our influence as an investor are powerful tools to make that change to happen."