Divest Invest Philanthropy

Five Years After Launch

Christi Electris, Kristin Lang, Olive Watkins

Joshua Humphreys, Susan Paykin

October 2019

2019 marks the five-year anniversary of Divest Invest Philanthropy, providing a timely opportunity to take stock of the movement’s progress among foundations. Nearly 200 foundations from all over the world have committed to moving their money from the past to the future. This report tracks their progress, showcases leading examples through case studies, and invites other foundations to come along.

The report is organized in four parts: First, it gives an overview of the Divest Invest Philanthropy campaign from genesis to the present. Then, it analyzes the results of a survey assessing signatories’ progress in implementing the Divest Invest pledge. With over 30% of signatories responding, the report captures the trends, barriers, and successes of foundations transitioning to a fossil-free endowment portfolio. For example, 97% of the respondents from the original cohort of foundations pledging in 2014 now have 1% or less of their portfolio invested in fossil fuels, all while maintaining or improving their expected risk-return profiles. Third, the report presents a series of case studies taking a closer look at how different foundations have approached the Divest Invest pledge, sharing their challenges and successes in divesting, as well as the investment opportunities in climate solutions that they have identified and financed.

The results of the survey and case studies establish that philanthropy need not sacrifice value for values, and should embolden other foundations around the world to use all the tools at their disposal – investments and grantmaking alike – to respond to the urgent challenge of climate change. The report concludes with guidance on how other philanthropic organizations can join the movement to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions today.

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