The UConn Foundation manages endowed funds donated for the benefit of UConn. These assets are invested in a diversified portfolio under the stewardship of the Investment Committee. The Investment Committee’s main objective is to achieve strong long-term investment returns to support students, faculty, and programs at UConn.
The investment policy is focused on governance, low-volatility investment returns, institutional liquidity, and investment manager selection. The UConn Foundation shares the concerns of UConn Nation regarding environmental sustainability and its impact on economic growth, asset value, and financial markets. The Investment Committee values environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles as well as Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) principles.
In 2019, the UConn Foundation selected investment advisor BlackRock, which promotes the tenet that sustainability should be the new standard for investing. More than 90 percent of the UConn Foundation’s investment managers operate under ESG principles and the largest among them are signatories for the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).
The UConn Foundation is committed to making investments that have positive effects on society. Less than 2 percent of the UConn Foundation’s endowment is in investments related to fossil fuels and it is the Foundation’s goal to reduce that exposure going forward. The endowment has no investment in the coal industry. In addition to environmentally friendly investments in farmland and timber, funds have been invested in decommissioning old nuclear power plants. The endowment has been invested in life-saving industrial health care products including stents and medical device manufacturing.
The Foundation has partnered with an impact investment fund that makes investments that have positive social, environmental, and economic impact with companies that promote diversity and inclusion. This fund invests, for example, in energy storage batteries, solutions for preserving millions of gallons of water used in the clothing industry, and food preservation using non-GMO products.
Undergraduate and graduate students at the School of Business who participate in the UConn Foundation’s investment management opportunities get hands-on experience with socially responsible investing. Every year, 40 students manage portfolios totaling more than $4 million. One of the important skills learned during the experiential program is to apply ESG principles in their stock selection and investment strategy.
The Investment Committee stays current with best practices in ESG and SRI through regular review of publicly available data from fellow institutions. The Investment Committee and investment staff are committed to engagement with stakeholders—students, faculty and university staff—on the topic of socially responsible investing.