Readers, please accept this invitation to communicate with "Soundings," either to react to articles in this issue of In Trust or to comment on other issues of concern to leaders in theological education. Feel free to be provocative, but do limit your letters to a maximum of 350 words. All letters are subject to editing. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making an Impact
The case for investing in sectors that are not blatantly incongruent with institutional mission has achieved wide acceptance now and Chitra Staley covers the basics in the last issue's Toolbox article on investing on principle. Most portfolio managers are helpful and cooperative when a trustee committee develops categories of "buy/no buy" niches in the public market. A seminary can keep its endowment holdings away from companies that are factors in gaming or tobacco. There are working lists of corporations with concentration on weaponry, or are known to cause environmental damage or exploitation of third-world countries.
However, investing or divesting in the secondary market has virtually no impact on a company unless the institution is a very large shareholder, or makes the action a "media" event, in concert with other stock owners. Some institutions monitor the diversity and the insider/outsider ratio on boards of directors. The annual ballot and proxy can be obtained from your custodian bank. A letter to a corporate CEO can be effective if a seminary withholds its proxies until the board of directors' slate reflects some ethnic and gender diversity.
--Richard E. Ice,
Richard E. Ice is chair of the budget and investment committee of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California.
In Trust Inc., is pleased to announce the election of Dr. James L. Waits, retiring executive director of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, to membership on its Board of Directors. Waits will become head of the Fund for Theological Education when he leaves the ATS.
In Trust also announces election of two new members to its Advisory Council. They are Brian J. Stiller, president of Ontario Theological Seminary, North York, Ontario, and Fred Vilbig, a member of the Board of Trustees of Aquinas Institute, St. Louis, Missouri.