With $21 million from investors across the denomination, including $1 million from the Massachusetts Conference, United Church Funds has launched a new fund that is free of fossil fuel investments.
The Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund (BFFF) was developed in response to the General Synod resolution – spearheaded by the Conference and passed last year – that urged divestment from fossil fuel companies and other strategies such as shareholder action to combat climate change.
“United Church Funds worked diligently to achieve the goals of the 2013 UCC General Synod resolution that urged divestment from fossil fuel companies,” said Donald G. Hart, President of UCF. “We appreciate the commitment of the 11 founding investors of the Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund, who are demonstrating for other investors a proactive allocation of at least a part of their large cap domestic investments to reduce climate change.”
The Massachusetts Conference transferred $1 million from its endowment into the fund, making the Conference one of the 11 founding investors.
"By investing part of the MACUCC’s endowment in the BFFF, we are on the front line of a growing fossil fuel company divestment movement that now includes close to 1,000 universities, cities, philanthropic foundations and faith communities whose investments together represent more than $50 billion," said Conference Minister and President Jim Antal.
The fund is free of investments in US companies extracting or producing fossil fuels, and is open to eligible institutional investors.
Antal penned the original divestment resolution and took it to the Conference Board of Directors, who in late 2012 voted to submit it to General Synod in 2013. Three other Conferences co-sponsored it, and another seven endorsed it, as did the Massachusetts Conference Annual Meeting and the UCC Collegium of Officers. With input from the United Church Funds, its scope was broadened to include actions beyond divestment, and it was overwhelmingly approved at Synod.
"When the MACUCC Board pioneered this resolution with our vote almost 2 years ago, it was a prophetic action. It was hard to imagine it would pass Synod. And one of the reasons it did was because of the partnership with United Church Funds in crafting the version of the resolution that went to Synod," Antal said. "In keeping with Synod’s vote, United Church Funds has again made history by initiating the BFFF – the first of its kind by any religious body. I hope that churches and other religious institutions will follow our lead by placing endowment assets in the BFFF
For more information about the fund, visit ucfunds.org/beyond-fossil-fuels/
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