Small college aims for high-impact investments

Becker College mandates all investments generate a positive impact on society
By: | Issue: May, 2016
April 22, 2016

With college students increasingly calling on schools to divest endowments from fossil fuels, Becker College in Massachusetts became the first institution to mandate that all of its investments generate a positive impact on society—and a targeted financial return. 

“As a college that is educating the next generation of global citizens, prepared to solve our most pressing social problems, we are proactively aligning our entire portfolio with our mission, values and vision,” Becker President Robert E. Johnson said in a statement. 

Becker’s $5 million endowment is but a fraction of many schools’ holdings. Still, Becker plans to invest up to 25 percent of its endowment in local opportunities, including student-founded and alumni-run ventures, and local energy-efficient infrastructure, Johnson said.

The portfolio transformation should be complete by June 2017. 

Becker’s announcement coincides with the launch of a higher ed network designed to support endowment investment practices that produce financial returns while addressing environmental, social, governance and sustainability factors. The Intentional Endowments Network includes two dozen higher ed institutions as well as a number of investment groups and sustainability-related organizations.