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Socially Responsible Investing Supports Clarke Mission, Vision, and Values

By Clarke News  |  October 18, 2021

As a Catholic university, Clarke has been committed to the values of education, charity, justice, and freedom since its founding. Thanks to the concerted efforts of university employees, members of the Board of Trustees, and our investment advisors, the University has aligned its financial holdings with those values for the benefit of all. 

“For the last several years, we’ve really put a focus on making sure our investments align with our values,” said Beth McGrath, Vice President of Business and Finance.

Some may think making investment decisions that align with institutional values means sacrificing rate of return, but the Board’s Endowment and Investment Committee has worked closely with our investment advisors to maintain strong earnings while still investing in ways that support Clarke’s vision and mission. This allows us to maximize endowment funds to support the needs of our students.

Endowment earnings support the crucial operations of the University and are used to support student scholarships, employee professional development, library resources, and more. 

Clarke’s investment strategy includes both Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Investing. SRI is the primary approach and focuses on avoiding companies that do not align with our values, such as weapons manufacturing. ESG focuses on aligning with companies that advance important issues such as environmental causes and human rights.  

Of the $33 million endowment that Clarke manages, over 99% of the portfolio aligns with the University’s value-driven policy. Investments are screened to align with the values that Clarke prioritizes and with mutual funds with very low or no exposure to holding companies that may present a potential conflict. This is made possible through the collective hard work, vigilance, and dedication of many groups across campus and beyond, including Cathy Schulze ’72, who serves as chair of the Endowment and Investment Committee for Clarke’s Board of Trustees.  

“This collaboration of the Endowment and Investment committee, staff and Investment advisors enhances the success of Clarke’s enrollment results and the success of Institutional Advancement’s returns to its investors in the future of Clarke University,” Schulze said.