By Jennifer Griffith, member and former Chair of the
Investment Committee at First Parish, Cambridge, MA, from Remarks at a Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Workshop
on Global Justice, Corporate Accountability and Responsible Investors, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)
General Assembly—June 28, 2003
I just recently stepped down as Chair of the Investment Committee at First
Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I have been asked to tell the story of how
First Parish in Cambridge moved to a socially responsible investing
In 1994 the Committee hired a traditional investment firm to manage the
endowment. At that time we requested that the manager only buy stocks and bonds
from companies in the Domini Social Equity fund—a very easy way to be at least
minimally socially responsible.
Through my own (limited) investing in the Domini Social Equity fund I was
aware of the range of SRI activities occurring and some of the investment
management firms on the forefront.
Periodically over the years I brought up the idea of changing investment
managers, but received a lukewarm response because most everyone felt that:
However, also over the years:
I recently asked our investment manager if we could obtain information
The committee did not like those answers, especially considering our shares
were probably not being voted the way we would want. We were finally ready for a
Committee members obtained information about firms that they knew of, and
then decided on two firms to interview—and guess what? The financial
performance of the investments they manage was similar to, or even a bit better,
than what our endowment had experienced. We just hired one of the main SRI
Now the sky’s the limit!
In conclusion, you can get your congregation engaged in socially responsible
investing by asking questions about your church’s investments—are they really
reflecting our UU values?
For more information contact responsibleinvesting @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Friday, June 17, 2011.
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