NEW YORK, Oct. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Confluence Philanthropy, a global network of values-aligned investment philanthropies and advisors, today announced that through growing momentum a collection of now over 150 institutional investors, public and private foundations, family offices, and individual donors representing a collective $1.83 Trillion in Assets Under Management (AUM) have signed on to the Confluence Philanthropy "Belonging Pledge". This landmark commitment encourages investors and allocators to raise racial equity issues at upcoming investment committee meetings and discuss new ways to identify industry-wide barriers and technical resources required to advance the practice of investing with a racial equity lens.
On September 28th, Confluence Philanthropy coordinated a virtual plenary session at their Belonging Town Hall event to discuss industry-wide racial equity challenges and actionable solutions. Throughout the convening and corresponding breakout sessions, pledge signatories assessed further actions to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at their respective foundations and firms, with a subset agreeing to additional measures that improve recruitment, sponsorship and networking opportunities for employees that identify as black, indigenous and/or as people of color (BIPOC). Attendees acknowledged the critical importance of diversifying staff across all levels of leadership – from investment committees and c-suite executives to Outsourced Chief Investment Officers (OCIOs), advisors, and investment managers – as well as the need to dedicate specified resources toward firmwide culture and retention of BIPOC staff.
"The Belonging Pledge and related Town Hall meeting encompass a watershed moment for the investment industry," said Dana Lanza, President & CEO of Confluence Philanthropy. "Our network of philanthropies and their investment advisors are holding tough conversations about what creates inequity. Our goals involve changing the way decisions are made and who makes these decisions to level the playing field for diverse managers.
Diversity, equity and inclusion should serve as a primary lens throughout the investment process – and we're excited to work hand-in-hand with pledge signatories to support them throughout the organizational change process."
With respect to advancing racial equity across asset classes, Town Hall participants recognized the significant role they play in dismantling systemic barriers to capital allocation. Among 154 surveyed "Belonging Pledge" signatories from Confluence Philanthropy's network and those of their partners, an estimated 50% already include language about racial equity within their investment policy statement (IPS), with an additional 26% noting their interest or intention to add racial equity language into their IPS moving forward. In addition, an estimated 60% of signatories have already made explicit, racial equity-themed investments, with 18% noting their interest or intention of doing so in the future.
Confluence Philanthropy's Belonging Pledge and Town Hall reflect the organization's mission to transform the practice of investing by aligning capital with values of sustainability, equity, and justice. In the wake of recent police killings of black Americans across the United States that have resulted in protests and civil unrest throughout more than 75 major metropolitan areas, Confluence – now more than ever – remains committed to advancing racial equity and inclusivity through sincere commitment, clear goals, and measurable benchmarks. Confluence Members and partnering investor networks' full "Belonging Pledge" for racial equity can be found below:
"We commit to discussing racial equity at our next investment committee meeting. We will move our agenda forward on this. We will share our next steps and results (perhaps privately), so that we can help to identify industry-wide barriers and the technical resources required to advance the practice of investing with a racial equity lens."
Confluence Philanthropy's network of values-aligned foundations and investment advisors recognize that the "Belonging Pledge" serves as an important starting point and offers the opportunity to demonstrate investor commitments to move this work forward. Confluence Philanthropy – alongside partner networks who collaborated on the Town Hall, including the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative (DAMI), Impact Capital Managers, Intentional Endowments Network, Social Venture Circle, The ImPact and others – believe that change must begin with a shift in the prevailing racially homogenous culture and exclusivity that ultimately perpetuates racial bias and inequity within the investment industry and in investors' portfolios. Confluence and its partners are committed to advancing this work and to supporting signatories to move from their initial commitments to tangible actions that will shift the current paradigm and hope to see a ripple effect across the industry.
About Confluence Philanthropy:
Confluence Philanthropy's mission is to transform the practice of investing by aligning capital with our community's values of sustainability, equity, and justice. We support and catalyze a membership network of private, public and community foundations; family offices; individual donors; and their values-aligned investment advisors representing more than $70B in philanthropic assets under management, and over $3.5T in managed capital. Confluence is an international organization, with the majority of members based in the U.S., and a handful in Europe, Canada, Latin America, and East Africa. Our members represent a diversity of institutions, charitable asset types, personal and professional roles, and programmatic missions, but we share a commitment to values aligned investing. Two national annual conferences, webinars, training, and specific investment and change strategies translate learning and connection into concrete action. We promote value alignment, when prudent and feasible, through a variety of asset classes, investment vehicles and advocacy strategies, including cash, proxy voting, shareholder engagement, program-related investing, screening public equities, and private equity. We have offices in New York City and in Oakland, California.
SOURCE Confluence Philanthropy