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Georgetown Expands Scope of Socially Responsible Investing Committee

February 17, 2012 – The university today announced an expansion of the Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility (CISR) to enhance the framework for examining the university’s endowment investments.

“Under this expansion, the committee will now consider and evaluate written proposals on socially responsible investment issues from members of the university community,” says Michael Barry, chief investment officer. “If it finds a proposal merits further evaluation, the committee will make a recommendation to the finance committee of the board of directors.”

A group of university faculty and senior university officials worked collaboratively with the Faculty Senate and other groups to draft the modifications to the CISR.

Open Dialogue

“The committee reflects Georgetown’s identity as well as the university’s dedication to fostering open dialogue and celebrating a diversity of perspectives,” Barry says.

The working group examined Georgetown’s existing policies, conducted a survey of approximately 30 socially responsible investment policies at peer institutions and examined related academic research. The university’s board of directors endorsed the proposal last week.

Basic Values

First established in the late 1970s, the CISR has comprised faculty members, university leaders and students. Under the expansion a new and broader constituency will be created.

Rev. John Langan, S.J., Georgetown’s Cardinal Bernardin Chair in Catholic Social Thought called the modification of the CISR “sound and thoughtful.”

“Our Catholic and Jesuit mission compels us to help ensure our investments are consistent with our basic values,” said Langan, who served on the CISR working group. “The committee will allow for an important extra layer of consideration in these matters.”

Fiscal Stability

As of Dec. 31, 2011, Georgetown’s endowment totaled approximately $1.09 billion. Georgetown’s endowment ranked 63rd in size compared to other universities for fiscal year 2011 by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

“Our endowment provides fiscal stability to the university and critical resources, enabling us to offer competitive tuition, support high-quality academic programs, attract top faculty and ensure that the brightest students have access to a Georgetown education,” Barry says.

The Investment Office will now work to add new members to the expanded committee with appropriate consultation from faculty and university leaders, which Barry aims to have in place by this fall. For more information about Georgetown's SRI policy, please contact the Investment Office at (202) 687.6881.

A copy of the final CISR principles and guidelines can be found on the Investment Office website.