Mercy Investment Services, the investment management program of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and its ministries, recognizes the moral imperative to work for a just and sustainable world, and embraces socially responsible investing as a means of promoting systemic change to respond to the critical needs of the time.
Established in 2003, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation (CDF) is the financial legacy of a remarkable group of women religious, The Sisters of Service. The Foundation, based in Toronto, Canada, is a living testament to the Sisters’ tradition of response to the greatest needs in communities across Canada. It builds upon the spirit of service and dedication that inspired Catherine Donnelly, the Foundress of the community, and affirms the inherent dignity of every person and the sacredness of creation. CDF seeks to extend the radical commitment to social change and to empowering the marginalized that characterized the Sisters’ every action.
CDF does not see itself as a passive philanthropic actor in the process of social change. It seeks active collaboration and engagement with those groups and institutions it chooses to support. Its strategy is one of partnership, which sees it prepared to make a contribution beyond financial resources to the work of social change groups and organizations. It actively seeks to promote linkages and synergies across and within the groups with which it collaborates.
The same bold spirit of active engagement and collaboration that guides our granting process gradually came to inform our investment strategy
The General Treasurer of the Society of Jesus (SOJ) is involved in the management of a Fund that benefits the various missions of the Jesuit order. As a Fund of an entity within the Catholic Church, socially responsible criteria should be a factor in the fund’s administration. In determining a strategy, the Fund has elected to pursue a positive impact strategy, as opposed to negative screening or advocacy programs. The Fund itself has an investment structure in which it holds portions of actively managed funds as opposed to separately managed accounts. As such, the Fund cannot dictate terms to fund managers.
Impact Investing Policy
Initially, the Impact Investing goals of the Fund were more informal and reflective of where the impact investing industry was at that time. However, as the industry matured and the investment options grew in terms of breadth and depth, the Fund formalized an allocation to positive Impact Investing through their investment policy statement. As such, the Fund aspires to dedicate 10% of the fund’s assets to Impact Funds which seek to invest in entities which aid the disadvantaged / underserved (poor) or contribute to the improvement of the environment.
Bon Secours Health System
Bon Secours Health System (“Bon Secours”) is a not-for-profit Catholic health system sponsored by Bon Secours Ministries and founded by the Sisters of Bon Secours. With operations in Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida and New York, Bon Secours owns, manages, or joint ventures 19 hospitals and 28 post-acute care facilities or agencies including skilled nursing facilities, home care and hospice services, and assisted living facilities. The Mission of Bon Secours is to bring compassion to health care and to be Good Help to Those in Need, especially those who are poor and dying.
Socially Responsible Investing
A reflection of the charism of Bon Secours is the health system’s Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) policy. Through the SRI policy the Health System recognizes and accepts its moral and ethical obligation to steward its investable assets in a manner consistent with its mission, vision, values and core strategies. Bon Secours understands this stewardship responsibility within the context of the social teachings of the Catholic Church and its commitment to advocate for systemic changes to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities...
The School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province live and minister in 21 states, the U.S. territory of Guam, and the countries of Austria, Italy, Japan and Nepal. We are part of an international congregation established by Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger in 1833. Our mission impels us to proclaim the good news of God’s love to the world to bring all to oneness with God. We work to transform the world through education with the belief that education extends beyond classrooms and enables all to reach the fullness of their potential as people created by God. Social justice and advocacy issues are central to SSND values. Caring for the Earth, accompanying those who are poor and marginalized, stopping human trafficking and promoting justice are key issues for us.
Our involvement in socially responsible investing began more than three decades ago and continues to expand with the inclusion of impact investments. Over the years this involvement developed as we:
Directed our investment managers to screen investments and promote positive corporate practices
Engaged in social justice shareholder activism through corporate shareholder resolutions and dialog
Invested in organizations designed for the purpose of upholding our values, for example, participating in solar projects and investing in impact investments intended to promote positive environmental outcomes along with market returns...
We are the European Province of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, a worldwide Catholic religious community, founded by Blessed Edmund Rice. The Christian Brothers assist with the care, education and evangelization of people throughout the world. Within this mission, we seek to reflect our values through the stewardship of our investments, which has led to our belief in and commitment to Impact Investing.
Since the late 1980s, we have engaged the services of an independent investment advisory firm, L&P Investment Services (now part of US investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald). This firm specialises in providing investment advice to charities, and have assisted us greatly in locating both ethically screened and Positive Impact investments.
Our Basis for Action - “Our Way Into the Future”
Arising from years of reflection, the result of our 2008 and 2014 Congregational Chapters was the endorsement of “Our Way into the Future”, a new expression of our Mission to be “adopted as a blueprint” for responding to “the cry of our times” and to a “reflection from the Congregation Leadership Team on a new way of being a Brother for the world today”
Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Our Mission, Vision, and Values guide everything we do at our 2,500 sites of care in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
In fiscal year 2016, Ascension provided $1.8 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Our investment portfolio is vital to providing this level of support to those in need. Equally important is our commitment to uphold our Catholic Values and Mission as we seek investment returns. To this end, we have allocated a portion of our investment portfolio to impact investments that we believe will align with our Catholic heritage.
The stories of Catholic Impact page is designed to help readers better understand how to implement Catholic Impact Investment in their own portfolio by learning from those institutions or individuals that are that have committed to exploring, implementing, or are actively deploying Catholic Impact Investments. In addition to profiles of different Catholic Institutions, we will also feature relevant stories and updates that give insight to the broader field of Catholic Impact Investment.
The following story details the Impact Investment Journey of Catholic Relief Services (“CRS”) as told by Beth Collins, Director of Impact Investing at CRS and Pat Dinneen, a Board Member of CRS and a long-time advocate for impact investing globally. In its role as a humanitarian aid organization with investment assets, CRS is uniquely positioned both to source and invest in Catholic-Values aligned Impact Investment initiatives. In addition to direct efforts, CRS has been able to leverage its status as a prominent organization in the Catholic community to galvanize broader conversation about the role of Catholic Impact Investment, including through co-hosting two conferences at the Vatican. Read more about CRS’s story below.
Catholic Relief Service's Journey
Catholic Relief Services (“CRS”) recognizes that Impact Investing presents an incredible opportunity to bring further innovation, scale and sustainable solutions to programs that lift the poor out of poverty. Since its founding in 1943, CRS has evolved into an international humanitarian organization of more than 5,000 people, that alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries. CRS serves over 100 million people annually, focusing especially on Agricultural Livelihoods, Health, and Emergency Response and Recovery. CRS is the official humanitarian aid agency of the USCCB. For more information, go to: www.crs.org.
In 2013, the President of CRS initiated a dialogue about Impact Investing. Ideas were invited from multiple sources, internally and externally, with the objective of determining the relevance of Impact Investing for the mission of CRS (and the Catholic Church) and to explore possible roles for CRS. At the suggestion of Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace (now the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development), CRS and the PCJP convened the first Vatican Impact Investing Conference in 2014, in partnership with the University of Notre Dame (UND). The meeting brought together Impact Investing leaders from around the world to engage leaders of Catholic institutions on how private capital could be catalyzed to advance integral human development, especially for the poorest of the poor. CRS’ impact investing work is guided by Pope Francis’ encyclical Evangelii Gaudium (2014) and his words from the conference, “It is important that ethics once again play its due part in the world of finance and that markets serve the interests of peoples and the common good of humanity.”
Following the 2014 Vatican Conference, CRS engaged in multiple activities to advance Impact Investing within CRS and the Catholic Church...
The stories of Catholic Impact page is designed to help readers better understand how to implement Catholic Impact Investment in their own portfolio by learning from those institutions or individuals that are that have committed to exploring, implementing, or are actively deploying Catholic Impact Investments. In addition to profiles of different Catholic Institutions, we will also feature relevant stories and updates that give insight to the broader field of Catholic Impact Investment.”
Below find the Impact Investment Story of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary (FSM). FSM has played an integral role in the development of CIIC, with the CFO/CEO of the Sisters John O’Shaughnessy serving as the original founder/convener of CIIC. After discovering the potential for Impact Investment in their investments FSM has not once looked back, fully embracing this aspect of their investments as an extension of their mission and using their status as a pioneer in this space to promote Catholic Impact Investment amongst peers and beyond.
FSM’s Impact Investing and Divestment Journey
The Franciscan Sisters of Mary always administered our investments within a socially responsible framework. We screened out investments in companies that failed to conform to moral, ethical and social issues and values, improved corporate practices by co-filing shareholder resolutions and proxy voting, and invested in some below-market-rate community development and housing loan funds.
But was responsible investing enough? Was our investment program’s design sufficiently aligned with FSM’s Mission and Focus? Moreover, did it further that Mission and Focus?