We employ a modern approach to socially responsible investing (SRI) that aims to have a positive environmental and social impact while outperforming standard investment benchmarks. It is our hope that our portfolio will contribute to the success of Dwight Hall, inspire the creation of similar funds at other colleges, and make SRI both accessible and exciting to college students.
On January 1, 2008, with the help of student interest and research, the Trustees of Dwight Hall proposed the creation of a separate fund within the Dwight Hall endowment focused on Socially Responsible Investment (SRI). The SRI Fund was created on the condition that both students and the Trustees are involved in the investment process. The students were responsible for taking the initiative to learn about different asset classes, the full scope of SRI alternatives, and the criteria for manager selection, while the Trustees took responsibility for managing the program and working with the students to develop a base of knowledge for SRI at Dwight Hall in the future. The original proposal emphasizes the need for input from students interested in investment and social justice issues.
The Trustees committed to seeding the SRI Fund with $50,000 from the Dwight Hall endowment as soon as the SRI Committee found appropriate managers for the money, in anticipation that the SRI Committee, working with the Development Committee of the Board of directors, would raise $50,000 in new money for the fund. The Trustees also committed to matching funds the SRI Committee raises up to $110,000. The rest of the Dwight Hall endowment is invested with David Swensen at the Yale Investments Office.
In addition to the community investment, the Dwight Hall SRI fund invested in a set of socially responsible mutual, fixed income, and real estate funds on the market driven side in order to keep risk to a minimum. The committee hosted its first bi-annual conference on socially responsible investing in the spring of 2014. The committee is also exploring the shareholder advocacy aspect of SRI, and recently invested in a public equity to explore the use shareholder voice.