Alumni Initiative Launch
As student divestment campaigns across the country enter the midst of the fall semester, the Responsible Endowments Coalition is proud to announce the start of its alumni organizing initiative. Recognizing a lack of alumni mobilization in the divestment and reinvestment movement, REC has decided to dedicate resources and expand its capacity to directly address this gap. Alumni are in a unique position to promote and galvanize positive change within their alma maters. Colleges rely on alumni support through donations, which are crucial to endowment growth and often provide funds for their operating budget. Alumni can also lend critical support needed in winning victories within the student movement.
With great pride, REC welcomes two promising and talented additions to the staff: Nina Macapinlac as Coordinator of Alumni Organizing and Jess Grady-Benson as Young Alumni Organizer. Nina has a background in grassroots community organizing within the labor and immigrant rights movement in New Jersey. Alongside many other passionate youth and students, she was an organizer in the successful New Jersey Tuition Equity for Dreamers campaign that passed the NJ DREAM Act in December 2013. She has also helped organize day laborers and is currently working to build a community organization for Filipino migrant workers in Jersey City.
“I was really attracted to this work because I believe endowment organizing can be a key tool to providing broader analyses that span across movements and generations,” Nina said. “Through campus divestment and reinvestment, students and alumni can really illustrate the urgency of holding the financial sector accountable for its oppressive and harmful actions against communities.”
Jess Grady-Benson brings her experience in student endowment organizing to the alumni team. Jess was a co-founder of the Claremont Colleges Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, which achieved victory at Pitzer College in April. With a background in climate justice organizing, she is excited about the role of endowment activism in a just transition to a new economy, bridging movements for climate, racial, and economic justice. In addition to her work with REC, Jess is also a member of the Coordinating Committee of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network and organizes with the DSN’s Alumni Divestment Network.
“As a young alum, I am thrilled to be organizing with other recent graduates to strengthen the movements for fossil fuel and private prison divestment, as well as community reinvestment,” Jess said. “I firmly believe in the power of endowment organizing to challenge destructive business and investment norms and call upon institutional actors to build an economy that prioritizes people and planet.”
Alumni bring unique skills and power to endowment organizing that has yet to be leveraged to its fullest potential. With two newly hired staff, REC hopes to build and support a strong base of alumni that can collaborate with and work alongside student movements in demanding that colleges and universities responsibly invest their endowments. Understanding that alumni come from all walks of life and possess a wide range of skill sets, the alumni team hopes to provide resources for those who would like to get involved as well as get feedback and ideas on the best ways to proceed with this initiative.
Interested individuals or organizations that would like to get involved as alumni in community reinvestment, fossil fuel divestment, and private prison divestment efforts should get in touch with the alumni organizing team. You can do that by clicking on the image below to be redirected to our short survey!