Lately we find ourselves asking how we can be better supporters of our grantee partners, who are working in increasingly difficult circumstances to advance social and economic justice across the South. With rapid expansion of income inequality, the gradual erosion of public goods and outright attacks on families’ safety and dignity, their work is more important than at any point in recent history. The Foundation, our partners and the communities we care about are at a critical juncture and “urgency” is the operative word.
Fortunately, the Babcock Foundation board and staff now have the flexibility to consider increased grantmaking opportunities just when they are needed most. After years of planning and research, 2017 marked the first complete year MRBF’s portfolio was 100 percent invested in a mission-related strategy guided by environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. These ESG screens require best practices in labor rights, climate impact, natural resource use, corporate governance, supply chain management, community impact and other factors. Not only was the portfolio’s return up more than 20 percent last year, but every asset class outperformed its respective benchmark and achieved ESG impact. The timing of these market gains could not be any better, and we’re committing additional resources to our partners throughout the region.