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The Tufts University Sustainability Fund offers a new option for endowment giving

Tufts has created a sustainability investment fund, which is now available for donors making new gifts of $25,000 or more to the university.

The Tufts University Sustainability Fund (TUSF) gives donors the option of designating that their endowment gifts be invested in a way that acknowledges the importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Donors may create an endowed scholarship or professorship, for example, and have the funds invested in the TUSF.

The Board of Trustees approved creating the TUSF at its November 2014 meeting. Tufts launched the new fund with seed funding from the university.

Exploring the establishment of a sustainability fund was a key recommendation of a working group of students, faculty, administrators, and trustees appointed by President Anthony P. Monaco in April 2013 to examine the university’s role in mitigating climate change.

Exploring a New Investment Option

ESG investing is relatively new. “The sustainability fund gives us an opportunity to learn more about the feasibility and effectiveness of these kinds of investments,” Monaco said. Ideally, income generated by the fund will support sustainability programming in both academics and operations, he said.

The TUSF is part of the university endowment, which stood at $1.6 billion as of June 30, 2014. Thus it is guided by the Tufts investment policy, which governs the management of endowed assets.

The university will appoint a small advisory committee to help define what constitutes an environmentally supportable or socially responsible investment. A member of the Trustee Investment Committee will chair the advisory group, which will include representation from the administration, faculty, and student body. The advisors will provide input to the Investment Committee, which has final decision-making authority over all Tufts investments.

To learn more about supporting Tufts with a gift via this fund, please contact Margot Biggin, executive director, University Advancement, at margot.biggin@tufts.edu or 617-627-3287.