There are people, some of them financial advisors, who believe that you cannot make money through sustainability, social justice and ESG investing. (ESG stands for environmental, social and governance investing.) To be accurate, people don’t say you can’t make any money on these investments, just not as much money as you would if you didn’t factor in those considerations when picking your investments. Let’s put this to rest right out of the gate. John Hale of the renown MorningStar investment research firm has said that’s not true. And Morgan Stanley’s Sustainable Reality: Analyzing Risk and Returns of Sustainable Funds survey came to the same conclusion. It determined that the returns of sustainable funds were in line with comparable traditional funds by looking at the performance of nearly 11,000 mutual funds from 2004 to 2018. In fact, the report concluded that there were no statistically significant differences in total returns. An interesting kicker was that the sustainable funds may offer lower market risk. These funds experienced a 20% smaller downside deviation than traditional funds. If you’re like most investors, the downside is what you find scary, not the upside.

For this first article on socially responsible investing, we’ll look at two topics related to getting started: advisor selection and investment screening. We’ll also cover one benefit of ESG investing: risk mitigation.

Advisor selection

If you’d like to pursue (or even explore) socially responsible investing with an advisor, you’ll need a particular type of advisor. Margaret Towle’s “Environmental, Social and Governance Investing: Myths versus Reality” discusses the problem with advisor selection. Many advisors simply don’t believe good returns are possible from these types of investments. Therefore, they have not researched them. Some of them are with companies that don’t have agreements with a diverse number of mutual fund managers, resulting in

The Ford Foundation announced $180 million in new grant funding for U.S. racial justice and civil rights groups, the organizations large and small who are doing essential work to address systemic racism and support full democratic inclusion. This latest funding doubles the Foundation’s existing commitments in the civil justice arena to $330 million.



Darren Walker wearing a hat


© Michael Loccisano—Getty Images


This latest allocation has been made possible by a deft use of capital markets—unprecedented in philanthropic history. In June, the Foundation announced its plan to borrow $1 billion in social bonds to increase its grant-giving capacity at a time when mission-critical organizations large and small are losing revenue due to the coronavirus.

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“What was creative was figuring out a way to increase our giving while not diminishing the current value of our endowment,” Ford Foundation president Darren Walker tells Fortune.

He recalls the time in March and April when the Foundation was facing a confluence of issues, including a “very choppy” market: “I’m sitting in my apartment in New York watching the panic in the market and in what was happening in the nonprofit sector. So many nonprofits canceling their fundraisers, canceling their fees, and pulling back on their programs. Panic in the sector. So we knew we needed to step up.”

The IRS requires philanthropies to pay out five percent of their endowment, which may be acceptable in good times. “The problem is there is the inverse relationship between returns and need,” says Walker. “When the market’s going down, it’s usually when these needs are going up.”

Not to mention, the endowment itself. Ford’s endowment, currently $13.7 billion, lost $3 billion in the volatility of 2008. “We were paying out five percent of a much smaller denominator,” he says.

The breakthrough came from the Federal Reserve. 

“Fortunately, [Federal Reserve] chairman

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, shown here at a press conference last month, has been accused of campaign finance violations.

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Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, shown here at a press conference last month, has been accused of campaign finance violations.

Adrian Kraus/AP

The mayor of Rochester, N.Y., who last month fired the city’s police chief and implemented disciplinary actions for other city officials for their response to the death of Daniel Prude in police custody in March, is due in court Monday to face two felony charges for alleged campaign finance violations.

Mayor Lovely Warren and two political associates are accused of knowingly committing the finance violations dating back to her 2017 reelection campaign.

Warren is scheduled to be arraigned at 4 p.m. Monday. She has previously denied intentionally breaking the law.

Sandra Doorley, the Monroe County District Attorney, announced Friday that a grand jury handed up indictments, which include a first-degree charge of scheme to defraud and campaign finance violations “for the purpose of evading the contribution limits set by law.”

“I don’t believe this affects her ability to serve as the mayor,” Doorley said of the indictment.

“Lovely Warren is still the mayor of the city of Rochester. Mayoral business needs to continue. I don’t want to disrupt that and I want us to continue in our community,” she added.

Prosecutors would not disclose the specific amount of the alleged violation, but they suggested it could be several hundred thousand dollars. Officials noted the donation limits for the 2017 mayoral campaign cycle was capped at $8,557 dollars.

Both charges are nonviolent Class E felonies, which if convicted, carry a range of sentences from no jail time to four years in prison, according to Rochester-based NPR member station WXXI. Warren could also lose

Moreover, since the recent shift of jurisdictional responsibilities, my staff has worked around the clock to hold criminals accountable in a court of law and ensure victims experience a full measure of justice. It has been humbling to see these passionate civil servants in action and doing their sworn duties. They do so in partnership with tribal, state and local law enforcement authorities as part of our collective justice mission to ensure the seamless provision of public safety services to all citizens of northeastern Oklahoma.

This past week, the Cherokee Nation hosted U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who reiterated his commitment to prioritizing public safety in Indian Country. This pledge by Barr is yet another reminder that we need not look far for examples of good faith and good acts by the United States, and, in particular, the Justice Department, upholding the federal trust responsibility to tribes, a duty rooted in generations of treaties and laws.

Demonstrating that commitment, last year Barr unveiled an ambitious new initiative to address the disproportionate rates of missing and murdered persons, especially women and girls, from American Indian and Alaska Native communities. As part of that initiative, he deployed coordinators to U.S. Attorney’s offices in 11 states to work closely with tribal communities and law enforcement to develop community action plans to respond to the crisis. This initiative promotes the utilization of the best available investigative resources, including some of the FBI’s most advanced technology. In Oklahoma, our coordinator is Patti Buhl, a Cherokee citizen with robust experience in tribal and state law enforcement agencies who is already advancing our understanding of the scope of the problem in our state. These efforts are bolstered by President Donald Trump’s Operation Lady Justice, a multiagency task force designed to enhance the operation of the criminal justice