Future of Higher Education Endowments Conference

November 9th, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA



The Future of Higher Education Endowments
Conversations about Responsible Investing and Sustainability


Universities collectively hold more than $400 billion in their endowments. While there are similarities between the 800-plus institutions, each school has its own unique set of circumstances. Some schools manage their investments in-house, some use outside managers, and many use consultants to provide advice on a wide variety of investment policies and practices.  Investment choices can also be influenced by a school’s mission.  Money can be invested in a variety of asset classes, such as real estate, private equity vehicles and community institutions, in addition to stocks or bonds issued by publicly traded companies.

Endowments provide a substantial portion of many schools’ budgets and wise management of these funds is essential for ensuring the future of colleges and universities. Increasingly, students, alumni, and communities are asking that endowment managers practice responsible investment and take more robust action to ensure their investments encourage environmental and social sustainability. Considering these factors also can mitigate investment risks that often are not taken into account in traditional investment management, which why a growing number of large institutional investors are taking action, dramatically changing options in the investment world.

Join the Initiative for Responsible Investment, a project of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University, and the Responsible Endowments Coalition, for this one-day gathering where we will explore different options for the investing of endowments, and related transparency and accountability issues relevant for campus communities. This space will bring together a small group of highly knowledgeable students, administrators, faculty, and trustees, to discuss, in an open and intellectual way, their thoughts and desires for how endowments can change while continuing to meet their fiduciary duty and performance expectations, limit risk, and incorporate the values of the college into the investment process.

More information available soon.

This conference is limited to administrators, trustees, faculty, members of Committees on Investor Responsibility, and a limited number of other students.

To register contact Katie Grace at the Initiative for Responsible Investment at Katie_Grace@hks.harvard.edu. Directions upon registration.

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