The Fund for a Responsible Columbia

The Fund for a Responsible Columbia is a project of Barnard Columbia Divest for Climate Justice and a coalition of students, alumni, faculty, and staff concerned about the future of our society and our planet. We want to see Columbia University become a real leader in sustainability. Through divestment and reinvestment, Columbia can push for the political change we need in order to justly transition away from fossil fuels and into a climate just future.

Our goal is that this fund will encourage Columbia University to make the commitment to divest its endowment from fossil fuels and reinvest in real solutions to the climate crisis (details below). This fund is designed to ensure that if the University agrees to the stipulations of the fund, the money raised will be used to support the University endowment. If the University does not agree to the stipulations outlined below, the money raised will be used to fund the continuing work of student and community organizers in support of climate justice.

In order to receive any portion of the fund, there are two deadlines that the University should be mindful of:

May 1, 2015: By this date, Columbia University must have provided a selected representative of Barnard Columbia Divest for Climate Justice, or its successor organization, with a written agreement expressing its commitment to divestment, thereby legally binding the institution to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies* and fully divest its endowment from these companies within five years of committing to divest. In addition, Columbia University must have agreed to create a reinvestment committee. This committee will, through a transparent process, allow students and campus stakeholders to be involved in decisions to reinvest at least two percent of the endowment in equity and democracy enhancing climate solutions** that confront the local impacts of environmental and climate injustice.

If the University provides such an agreement by this date, the available balance on May 1st, 2015, will be donated to Columbia University’s endowment, and the fund will be terminated. If the University has not provided such an agreement by this date, 25 percent of the balance to date will be donated to the Divestment Student Network, or its successor organization, to be administered in the form of fixed stipends for student organizers. These stipends will provide support to students working with on-campus campaigns and/or off-campus organizations doing climate and economic justice work, including, but not limited to, fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment organizing. Another 25 percent will provide support to community organizers working on cooperative and sustainable economic development and other forms of progressive political mobilization. The decision regarding what organizations will receive that 25 percent will be made by the members of Barnard Columbia Divest for Climate Justice, or its successor organizations, via a process guided by the fund Advisors.

If Columbia University does not provide an agreement by May 1, 2015, the next deadline is:

May 1, 2016:  By this date, Columbia University must provide documentation that it has successfully committed to freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies*, to fully divest its endowment from these companies within five years, and to create a reinvestment committee. As mentioned above, this reinvestment committee will, through a transparent process, allow students and campus stakeholders to be involved in decisions to reinvest at least two percent of the endowment in equity and democracy enhancing climate solutions** that confront the local impacts of environmental and climate injustice.

If such evidence is provided, the available balance on May 1st, 2016 will be donated to Columbia University’s endowment, and the fund will be terminated. If the University has not committed to the above stipulations, half of the remaining contents of the fund will be donated to the Divestment Student Network, or its successor organization, to be administered in the form of fixed stipends for student organizers. These stipends will provide support to students working with on-campus campaigns and/or off-campus organizations doing climate and economic justice work, including, but not limited to, fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment organizing. The other half of the funds will provide support to community organizers working on cooperative and sustainable economic development and other forms of progressive political mobilization. The decision regarding what organizations will receive that 25 percent will be made by the members of Barnard Columbia Divest for Climate Justice, or its successor organizations, via a process guided by the fund Advisors.

At this date, student organizers with Barnard Columbia Divest for Climate Justice, or its successor organization, will make an evaluation as to whether to continue organizing around the fund.

Your tax-deductible donation will be made to the Fund for a Responsible Columbia, a donor advised fund held at the Triskeles Foundation. Triskeles is a public charity in Pennsylvania. For more information about the Triskeles Foundation please visit triskeles.org

Support us by becoming a donor now!

The Fund for a Responsible Columbia is not affiliated with Columbia University or Barnard College.

If you have any questions or are looking to get involved, please email barnardcolumbiadivest@gmail.com or send a message through our Facebook: facebook.com/barnardcolumbiadivest


* 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies as outlined by “The Carbon Underground 200” Project on the day that Columbia commits to divest

** Reinvestment would occur over the span of five years (or until at least 2 percent of the endowment is reinvested, whichever is sooner) and would include investment in democratic renewable energy projects; democratic and community financial institutions (community development financial institutions, credit unions, state banks), mission-aligned revolving loan funds, and/or other vehicles that advance sustainability, democracy, and equity as the committee determines. 

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