Mission & History

The Responsible Endowments Coalition works with students, alumni, and other university stakeholders to make endowments a force for social, environmental, and economic justice.


The Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC) works to build and unify the college and university-based responsible investment movement, both by educating and empowering a diverse network of individuals to act on their campuses, and by fostering a national network for collective action. We empower people to defend human rights and the environment while making both corporations and universities accountable to global stakeholders. Our goal is to foster social and environmental change by making responsible investment common practice amongst colleges and universities, and to support the next generation of activists for the endowment movement.


We believe

  • That by using divestment as a tactic, universities can reinvest in creating a fair, just, and sustainable economy.  

  • A university endowment’s should model a just economy that prioritizes the wellbeing of all people over the accumulation of profit and their investments must reflect the principles of the institution.

  • Education is a right, and getting an education shouldn’t mean going into debt.

  • In mobilizing students, alumni, and university staff  to fight for racial, economic, gender, ethnic, and immigration justice for all.  

  • In creating community accountability,  abolishing the power of the prison state, and creating a sustainable future.



The Responsible Endowments Coalition was founded in 2004 by student activists from Barnard College, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, and Williams College who were interested in using their schools’ endowments to shift the way their schools invested. These students recognized a need for a source of information and support for student activists looking to organize on their campuses. REC's founders hoped to encourage new campaigns that would change the way universities consider the social and environmental impacts of their investments. Within a few months, the founders assembled a coalition of 40 schools with combined endowments of more than $102 billion.


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