Key Terminology

Commingled fund: A pool of assets owned by several investors that allows for investment diversification and economies of scale but can obscure individual asset ownership, hinder customization of the portfolio, and restrict proxy voting opportunities.

Endowment: An investment fund established by a nonprofit institution to provide a long-term or permanent source of income to support charitable activities. Endowment funds are typically funded by donor contributions.

ESG investments: Investments proactively screened for Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria. While ESG criteria may differ, they can include factors such as carbon emissions, land use, labor management, health risk, board diversity, and financial transparency.

Fossil fuel reserves: Proven or probable reserves of coal, oil, natural gas, and tar sands. 

Impact investments: Investments that both deliver market-rate financial returns and generate meaningful and measurable contributions to social change toward a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.

Mission-aligned investing: The selection of financial investments that can support progress toward the Fund’s philanthropic priorities.

Proxy vote: A ballot cast on behalf of a shareholder to a corporation to decide matters such as electing directors to the board, approving mergers and acquisitions, authorizing executive pay, and other business decisions.

Outsourced Chief Investment Office (OCIO): A third-party business charged with managing the investment portfolio of an individual, family, or institutional investor pursuant to its investment policy. The RBF’s OCIO is overseen by the Investment Committee.

Screened divest: Investments with negotiated side letter agreements that commit the fund manager to avoid fossil fuels in the vehicle or share class owned by the RBF.

Shareholder engagement: Recommendations, proposals, or resolutions submitted to a corporation by an investor in order to raise environmental, social, or governance issues.

Stranded assets: Fossil fuel resources that are no longer able to earn economic returns as the result of a regulatory shift, change in relative costs and prices, or physical impediment to supply or production.

Traditional: Investments that do not have explicit agreements preventing managers from holding fossil fuels. New investments in this category are assessed to determine that they do not hold fossil fuel reserves and are not involved in fossil fuel industries.