first U.S. endowment to be a signatory

hailept

Senior Member
Vietnamese
What does endowment refer to here? Harvard or Harvard's money?

The Harvard endowment particularly has a focus on sustainable investing. They were the first U.S. endowment to be a signatory to the United Nations-sponsored Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The endowment uses Environment Social and Governance (ESG) criteria in all aspect of selecting investments and takes an active stance as an owner to define best practices. This is also particularly important for the land that the Harvard endowment owns where they make sure they are a good steward of those resources.

Source: How Yale and Harvard Manage Their Money
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "endowment" is money given to a college (or hospital, etc)
    That does not appear to be the meaning in this context ("These funds, often a result of donations", from the linked article; note: "often", not "always"), which appears to refer specifically to the management of US educational institutions. Perhaps an American member can give an accurate answer.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    This is my normal person, non-technical answer.

    A private college's endowment is the money they have in their "savings account". Generally it passes on from year to year, it's not the money they spend for operations on a day to day basis. Past graduates of the school, especially fancy schools like Harvard, tend to donate large amounts of money during their lives and/or upon deaths in their wills. So Harvard's endowment is worth billions of dollars (37 billion dollars, according to the web) now. All that money is not actually in a savings account, it gets invested in the stock market and bonds and whatever else large amounts of money gets invested in. So this article is saying that the people in charge of investing Harvard's endowment money have agreed to abide by those principles.

    The interest and income from those invested funds is used to help run the school. Exactly how that works and how it pays for things I'm not certain.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    They were the first U.S. endowment to be a signatory to the United Nations-sponsored Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
    In this context, to me (whose AE is appalling), "endowment" means "college funded by endowments"
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    This is from a web search

    Harvard University's endowment (valued at $37.1 billion as of 2017 [update]) is the largest academic endowment in the world. Along with Harvard's pension assets, working capital, and non-cash gifts, it is managed by Harvard Management Company, Inc. (HMC), a Harvard-owned investment management company.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I have re-read it:
    "The Harvard endowment particularly has a focus on sustainable investing. They were the first U.S. endowment...

    I took the referent of "They" to be Harvard.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I agree that "they" are Harvard, but I fail to see how a pile of money (an endowment) could be a signatory to anything. Synecdoche, perhaps, with the endowment being used to represent the university?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It could be a reference to the Harvard Management Company, since they are doing the day to day decisions.
     
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