Divest Whitman is proud to launch the Whitman College Divestment Fund! The Divestment Fund is a place for you—alumni, parents, and other Whitman community members—to financially express your support for fossil fuel divestment and pressure the College to divest. Visit our website at DivestWhitman.org.
Divest Whitman is a student organization that has been campaigning for fossil fuel divestment since Fall 2012. Though our student government (ASWC), the student body, and the faculty have all passed resolutions in favor of divestment, the Board of Trustees still refuses to make the right decision. With this fund, we hope to demonstrate that a broad contingent of the Whitman community supports divestment and provide a financial incentive for the College to divest. Whitman must start acting ethically with it’s endowment and your donation will help pressure the College to do this.
Should Whitman meet the stipulations below, money in this fund will be donated to the College. Otherwise, the money will be donated to the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. The Alliance is a Washington State coalition doing the on-the-ground work necessary to transition our society away from fossil fuels and bolster the clean energy economy in a way that improves the lives and health of those most hurt by fossil fuel use. We feel that they will be a very worthy recipient of your money should Whitman fail to divest on the timeline detailed below.
May 22, 2016 (Class of 2016 Commencement): By this date, the Whitman College Board of Trustees must make a public statement committing to (1) divest Whitman’s endowment from fossil fuel companies* and (2) reinvest 3% of the endowment in ways that fund community development and renewable energy.**
If the Whitman College Board of Trustees makes such a commitment by this date, the available balance on May 22, 2016 will be donated to Whitman College and this fund will be terminated. If the Board does not make such a commitment by this date, 50% of the available balance will be donated to the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. The remaining balance will await the second deadline, below.
May 21, 2017 (Class of 2017 Commencement): If the Board of Trustees has made the aforementioned commitment by this date, the available balance on May 21, 2017 will be donated to Whitman and this fund will be terminated. If they have not, 100% of the available balance will be donated to the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. At this point, Divest Whitman will decide whether or not to continue organizing around the fund.
Support us by becoming a donor now!
Your tax-deductible donation will be made to the Whitman College Divestment Fund, a donor advised fund held by the Triskeles Foundation and supported by the Responsible Endowments Coalition. Donations to the Divestment Fund are NOT contributions to Divest Whitman.
The Whitman College Divestment Fund is not affiliated with Whitman College.
*ASWC Resolution SRS15.4, a resolution co-written by ASWC senators and members of Divest Whitman, asked for the Board of Trustees to cap Whitman’s investments in fossil fuel companies at 1% of the total endowment. This 1% cap is in-line with the divestment commitments made at other institutions and so we will consider it to be an acceptable form of divestment. As implied in that resolution, this cap may exclude all funds that we have no visibility into. The fossil fuel companies in question are the top two hundred largest by proven carbon reserves, as ranked in the Fossil Free Indexes’ Carbon Underground report. We will allow for this cap to take effect within one year.
**As suitable reinvestment candidates, we will consider funds akin to the Climate Solutions Fund II in which Whitman is currently invested. But we also strongly encourage the Board to make investments in community development financial institutions (CDFIs) such as credit unions, loan funds, and community banks. Such CDFIs help build communities resilient enough to weather the worst impacts of climate change. The Responsible Endowments Coalition provides examples of suitable community investment vehicles here. We expect that 3% of the endowment will stay invested in this manner for the foreseeable future. We will allow for this reinvestment to take place over a period of five years.