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Pitzer College Endowment Fund

Name: Pitzer College

Assets Under Management: $241.6 Million (Source: Pitzer College on 6/30/2012)

Annual Report: Pitzer College 2011-12 Audited Financial Report

Portfolio Insights: “Founded in 1963, Pitzer College is an independent, coeducational, residential liberal arts and sciences college. Pitzer College is part of the unique educational environment known as The Claremont Colleges. Within The Claremont College’s consortium, Pitzer’s educational philosophy is singular.

The Board of Trustees of the College interpreted the California Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) to state that the College, in the absence of explicit donor stipulations to the contrary, may appropriate for expenditure or accumulate so much of an endowment fund as the College determines prudent for the uses, benefits, purposes, and duration for which the endowment fund is established. As a result of this interpretation, the College classifies as permanently restricted net assets (a) the value of gifts donated to the endowment, and (b) accumulations to the permanent endowment made in accordance with the direction of the applicable donor gift instrument at the time the accumulation is added to the fund.” (Source)

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Top Pitzer College Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) Pitzer College has decided to implement five strategies as part of a Climate Action Plan, taking from all possible actions any investor could consider, including: Developing an environmental, social and governance policy to guide endowment investment decisions; Creating the Pitzer Sustainability Fund within the endowment to make environmentally responsible investments; Targeting a 25 percent reduction of the College’s carbon footprint from current levels by the end of 2016; Establishing a Campus Sustainability Taskforce to bolster on-campus measures to promote sustainability (Source)

2) California based Pitzer College launched the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability in 2012 and opened four mixed-use residential buildings that earned LEED Platinum certification. In 2014 they set some ambitious sustainability goals that include divestment from fossil fuels.

In April, the Board of Trustees at the college approved a fossil fuel divestment-climate action model that commits it to divest virtually all endowment investments in fossil fuel stocks by the end of the year. The model sets forth an environmental, social and governance policy to guide endowment investment decisions. It also creates a sustainability fund for environmentally responsible investments and a campus sustainability task force. The goal is to reduce the college’s carbon footprint by one quarter between now and 2016. (Source)

3) Pitzer College celebrated Earth Day a little early this year — as in ten days premature. But it can be excused: On Saturday, April 12, with college trustee Robert Redford lending his considerable eco-cred to the ceremony at the LA Press Club, President Laura Skandera Trombley announced that Pitzer would be divesting its endowment of fossil-fuel stocks by December 2014. With that decision, the planet can breathe a tad easier.

Its respiration, and ours, will be helped as well by the college’s critical and linked decisions to establish an Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance investment policy that will frame future financial decisions; reduce its carbon footprint by 25% over the next two years; establish a segregated environment fund within its endowment to promote campus sustainability, some of the income of which will be directed toward incentivizing changes in community behavior and sustainability projects (And it is discussing investing in the Billion-Dollar Green Challenge that will underwrite energy-efficiency initiatives). (Source)

4) Pitzer College, a liberal arts college in Southern California, divested about $4.4 million of its $5.5 million in fossil fuel stock in December, and pledged to work to eliminate most of the rest of the stock in fossil fuel industries. The college has about a $124 million endowment. (Source)

5) Robert Day has presented Pitzer College with a personal gift of $3 million for the renovation of Avery Auditorium. The generous gift is one of the largest private donations ever received by the College and will be used to completely renovate and upgrade the auditorium, which was built in 1969. At Mr. Day’s request, the auditorium will be named George Benson Auditorium to honor his good friend, the late George Benson.

Dr. Benson was a remarkable leader: a founding trustee of Pitzer College, the founding president and a founding trustee of Claremont Men’s College (which became coeducational in 1976), and an early trustee of Harvey Mudd College, where he played an instrumental role in its establishment. All three colleges, established within seventeen years of each other, are currently the youngest in the nation to be ranked in the Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S.News & World Report. George Benson Auditorium will be the first academic building to be named after Dr. Benson on a Claremont College campus and is fittingly located at Pitzer College, which geographically resides in the middle of the three colleges. (Source)

About Richard C. Wilson