Fund gives donors peace of mind

By By Arthur Raymond

By Arthur Raymond

Donors who fear their gifts to the U could be invested in companies that they find morally objectionable can now rest assured that isn’t the case.

A new option offered by the U’s office of development allows donors to the endowment fund to specify that their gifts be used to invest in companies screened for issues of social responsibility.

The fund, which exists as a separate financial entity from the general endowment, is managed by TIAA-CREF as a part of their Social Choice annuity accounts.

Fred Esplin, vice president for institutional advancement at the U, describes the fund as a “good new choice for donors to the endowment.”

Gifts from new donors that are designated for the fund are invested in companies that are “socially responsible.”

For example, donors know that their money won’t be invested in companies that manufacture tobacco, alcohol, firearms, military weapons or utility companies that own interests in nuclear power. Operational aspects of the companies are also considered with further screening based on evaluations of corporate citizenship, environmental responsibility, diversity, human rights and the production of “safe and useful products.”

Jonathan Shear, who manages the U’s investments, said donations to the new fund “are allocated on a 60-40 basis within the fund.”

“This breaks down to 60 percent allocated to stock and equity funds and 40 percent invested in bonds and other fixed income securities,” he said.

The new donor option was created by the office of development in response to concerns among potential givers over how their donations would be invested, Esplin said.

The program is also available as an option to U employees who wish for their retirement contributions to be invested in a socially conscious manner.

Additional information on the program may be obtained through the U’s office of development at or at 1-800-716-0377.

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