Foundation Divestment moves ahead–and you can help move it further

metro-group-shotThis summer saw great advancement in the divestment of Washington and Oregon foundations.

In June the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation (MRG) made the fossil fuel divestment pledge at the request our the 350PDX Divestment – Reinvestment Team. MRG is now fully divested.

MRG said, “The Board of Directors committed to keeping our investments fossil free. They reaffirmed our longstanding commitment to having our investment philosophy match our values. This will keep over 2 million dollars out of fossil fuel investments.”

In September the University of Oregon Foundation announced their commitment to divestment stating, “…We believe that green energy initiatives, such as solar and wind power, sustainable forestry, and organic farming will steadily replace investments in carbon-based fuel sources, and we do not have any investments in coal. We intend to let those carbon-based investments –which were initiated many years ago– expire without renewal, ending our investment in carbon-based fuel sources….”

MRG is based in Portland and the U of O Foundation in Eugene. They join two other Portland-based foundations which have previously made the fossil fuel divestment commitment: the Jubitz Family Foundation and the Lemelson Foundation. To our north, in Seattle, the Bullitt Foundation has made the divestment commitment and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced it has sold off its entire $186 million stake in BP.

Lemelson, Jubitz and Bullitt are all signatories of DivestInvest Philanthropy, a growing coalition of nearly 300 foundations that have made public commitments to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy and climate solutions.

Portland, and Oregon as a whole, have many more foundations who should be asked to make the divestment commitment, but it’s hard for us to approach them unless we have a contact. You can help by providing our team with an introduction to a sympathetic board member or trustee of a foundation. Please get in touch with us if you can help in this way or would like to get involved in the divestment movement send us an email . Thanks!

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