These are some of the values we hold dearly at Washington University and the values that have given us the firm foundation we have in place. And right now, these values are fueling the work we do to flatten the curve, mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and do our best to care for those who are most vulnerable in the midst of this health, humanitarian, and economic crisis.
I for one am proud of the immense progress we are making to invest in industries that align so closely with our mission, with a strong tendency to shy away from those that might serve to detract from it. And moving forward, we will continue to make even greater strides to invest in businesses with positive ESG practices. Because of the nature of our partnership with WUIMC, their long-term horizon approach to investment, as well as their engagement model, we’re confident we will continue on this path.
In summary, WUIMC is a separate entity accountable to its own board, but working in tandem with the university. Therefore, it has its own oversight and a lot of autonomy, but also a lot of rigidity in terms of the way it functions and allocates assets. Because its main purpose is to support the university’s mission in perpetuity, WUIMC’s investment decisions tend to align closely with our university’s most deeply held values.
Through this first blog post in a three-part series, I hope this gives you a bit clearer picture into what an endowment is and how we use it at Washington University. In two more future installments, I plan to outline the history of the endowment, where it comes from, how the payout is spent, how the endowment is managed, and how our investments align positively with the university’s mission — including a deeper dive into our socially responsible investment principles. Stay tuned!