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Socially Responsible Investing for Non-Profits

Who among us has not contemplated the notion of making the world a better place? For professionals who've chosen careers in the nonprofit sector or in faith organizations, those contemplations have shaped their lives, their day to day, their moment-by-moment efforts. Encouragingly, more and more for-profit companies are weaving altruism into their missions, as well.

But often times, as organization leaders assess the resources they have to do world-changing work, they overlook a powerful lever directly within reach: the organization's financial investment portfolio.

Today, thanks to the rise of sustainable and socially responsible impact investing —a potent and rapidly growing specialty within the investment field— leaders can make sure the mission of their organization's money furthers the mission of people and ideals. FOR Investment Partners was an early advocate of this investment approach and has more than two decades of expertise.

Academic studies have shown that socially responsible investing achieves investment outcomes competitive to traditional investing strategies while attempting to mitigate risk by taking into account liabilities —or strengths— associated with a company's environmental, social and governance activities. In this sense, socially responsible investing employs a powerful strategy: the organization furthers its moral mission AND it achieves the financial goals it needs to carry out its day-to-day work and secure its future.

Steps toward achieving socially responsible investing with FOR Investment Partners:

  1. Meet with an advisor to discuss the mission of your organization. Often your written mission statement would form the basis of this conversation.

  2. In conjunction with the socially responsible investment advisor, create an investment guideline statement that aligns with the mission and financial goals of your organization. The guidelines will naturally take on the specific goals of individual organizations and they will include a mix of business activities to be supported (e.g., a church endowment investing in companies with good human rights records) and activities to be avoided (e.g., a hospital avoiding companies in health-harming industries).

  3. Leaders then authorize FOR Investment Partners to evaluate the existing investment portfolio in the context of organization-specific socially responsible investment guidelines.

  4. In addition to rigorous financial evaluation, the advisor relies on a set of analytical tools and analytical firms that track the decisions, actions of corporations, and potential controversies from the perspective of social responsibility. Does a company support human rights and monitor their supply chain? Do they have a commitment to environment protection and awareness? Do they treat their employees fairly?

  5. Organization leaders meet to review the portfolio assessment and decide which investments stay or go and consider other investments to add to their portfolio.

  6. Within this decision-making, leaders will also have important discussions about trying to change the behavior of a given company by remaining as investors and taking part in shareholder engagement.

By filing or co-filing advisory shareholding resolutions at US companies, active shareholders bring important issues to the attention of company management. In addition to filing or co-filing shareholder resolutions, investors can also actively vote their proxies, engage in dialogue with corporate management or join shareholder coalitions as a means to encourage companies to improve their environmental, social and corporate governance practices. The experience and historical perspective of FOR Investment Partners is very valuable here.

Just as your mission is shaped by purpose and intent, FOR Investment Partners was formed with purpose and intent. The founders came to understand that the financial investments of foundations and endowments were one of society's most powerful and under-utilized assets in promoting a better world.

The word "FOR" in our name expresses the idea, that we want to help organizations and companies work toward the positive changes to which they devote their careers and lives.

To arrange a consultation with a FOR Investment Partners advisor, call 231.933.4396 or visit