On Sept. 27, 2013, Chancellor Woodson announced the Park Foundation’s (Donor) $50 million gift to the Park Scholarships — at the time it was the largest single gift in the university’s history. Intended to plant the seed of an endowment, this gift, with other support, aimed to sustain the program in perpetuity.
For investment purposes, the assets of endowments contributed by any donor who requests that it be invested in a sustainable, responsible and impactful manner will be held by the North Carolina State University Foundation, Inc. in a separate endowment fund called the Sustainable Responsible Impact Fund (the “SRI Fund”).
Sustainable investing is an all-inclusive term that encompasses activities and strategies under the responsible investing and/or sustainable investing umbrella. Such strategies include negative/exclusionary screening, positive/best-in- class screening, norms-based screening, integration of ESG factors, sustainable themed investing, impact/community investing and corporate engagement and shareholder action.
The SRI Fund’s investment strategy is aligned with its commitment to successful sustainability through balanced, ethical solutions that are economically viable, environmentally sound and socially just so that current and future generations may thrive. The SRI Fund intends the integration of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into investment management strategies, processes, and practices in the belief that these factors can benefit the fund’s performance and provide a qualitative impact consistent with the values, culture and mission of NC State University.
The SRI Fund will seek to achieve a competitive total return through a portfolio of stocks and bonds, privately held companies, real assets, and other instruments that offer income and capital growth opportunities.
The NC State Foundation Board of Directors’ (Board) is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the investment program, including development and approval of the Investment Policy Statement in a prudent manner with regard to preserving principal while providing reasonable returns.
The Board delegated authority by Board Resolution to the Foundation’s Treasurer and Director of Investments, jointly for SRI Fund management and oversight, including investment decisions, with updates to be provided to the Board at regularly scheduled meetings.
As of June 30, 2021, the SRI Fund had a market value of $71.9 million, a year-over-year increase of approximately $16.4 million. As of June 30, 2021, the SRI Fund outperformed both of its stated benchmarks over 1-, 3-, and 5-year investment horizons. The Fund’s absolute performance has been strong across those time periods with returns of 30.0%, 13.1%, and 14.0%, respectively.
As reflected in the chart below, the focus of the SRI Funds investment approach has evolved over the last five years. Focus has shifted away from negative screens towards proactive integration of these factors as both a risk mitigant and alpha generator.