“We added a Brave Philanthropy category to our Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards because we wanted to celebrate examples of donors taking risks, of supporting unpopular causes, of pushing themselves and others to deliver better outcomes,” said Dhananjayan “Danny” Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS. “Divest-Invest is a fantastic example of donors walking the talk on something that should be mission-critical to everyone.”
The award was accepted by Dr. Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund, on behalf of the 140 foundations at a ceremony hosted by CIVICUS and the National Directive Council of the Colombian Confederation in Bogota, Colombia. Wallace Global Fund has played a key role in the funding, organizing and growth of the global Divest-Invest movement, and has the led the campaign in the philanthropic sector.
“If you own fossil fuels, you own climate change,” said Dr. Dorsey. “Climate change will impact the mission of every foundation. We should heed the demands of the global climate justice movement calling on investors to withdraw their funds from fossil fuels. We receive charitable tax-status because we serve the social good, and our investments should as well. Philanthropy isn’t just any investor.”
Divest-Invest Philanthropy was launched in January 2014 by the Wallace Global Fund to support the wider divestment movement, pushing churches, cities, universities, pension funds, insurers and other institutional investors to invest morally in a time of climate change. Today, institutions and individuals pledging some form of divestment control assets of more than $3.4 trillion.
Divest-Invest Philanthropy has since attracted pledges from foundations such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Velux Foundations, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, the Mary Robinson Foundation and Trust Africa. Signatories agree to drop existing investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies and invest at least 5 percent of their portfolios into climate solutions, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean technology and clean energy access, within a five-year period.
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