$20 million launches United Church Funds fossil-fuel free fund

The Church Building and Loan Fund (CB&LF) was the first United Church of Christ organization to pledge money to United Church Fund’s new Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund, because it viewed that commitment as one way to align its investments with its mission.

Since that time, others have followed suit—to the sum of more than $20 million. The fund, which launches Nov. 1 as a domestic core equity fund free of investments in U.S. companies extracting or producing fossil fuels. It will be available to eligible institutional investors.

The Rev. Patrick Duggan, executive director of CB&LF, said, “CB&LF is proud to be the first founding investor of the Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund. We believe our faith calls us to explore ways to be mindful of Creation when deploying financial assets.”

United Church Funds announced the Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund in July, and since then it has gained the momentum—and the necessary investments—from UCC churches, conferences and agencies putting their financial weight behind their push for the good of the environment.

“As a co-sponsor of the Fossil Fuel Free Resolution at General Synod, the Southwest Conference is proud to now invest in the newly established UCF fund. We currently have placed 26 percent of our invested UCF monies in the Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund,” said the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, conference minister of the Southwest Conference of the UCC.

UCF already had more than $15 million in seed money committed from founding investors by the end of August, but taking in additional funding beyond the $20-million threshold allows UCF to pursue an enhanced index fund that provides an opportunity for higher returns. The fund also aligns investments with UCF’s existing social screens.

“United Church Funds worked diligently to achieve the goals of the 2013 UCC General Synod resolution that urged divestment from fossil fuel companies,” said Donald G. Hart, President of UCF. “We appreciate the commitment of the 11 founding investors of the Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund, who are demonstrating for other investors a proactive allocation of at least a part of their large cap domestic investments to reduce climate change.”

“We are very proud of Don Hart for his covenantal leadership in response to this historic resolution,” Dorhauer said. “He has helped the UCC once again create a pathway upon which others will soon come to travel.”

In addition to CB&LF and the Southwest Conference, seed money has come from the Central Atlantic, New York and Minnesota conferences of the UCC, along with individual UCC congregations, and a $10-million commitment from the United Church of Christ Board.

“The Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund gives investors just one more way to respond to the call to action,” said Kathryn McCloskey, UCF’s director of social responsibility.

The Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund is another step toward meeting the goals of the UCC resolution passed last July during General Synod 29 calling for a move toward divestment from fossil fuel companies as one strategy to address climate change.

Investors who are interested in shifting part or all of their domestic core equity allocation to the Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund can visit the fund’s website, bff.ucfunds.org, for more information. UCF staff will also assist investors who wish to explore a custom allocation.

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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