Assessing Mission-Aligned Investment Efforts: Progress and Challenges

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund strives to be a model of philanthropic excellence and transparency. As part of this commitment, the RBF regularly reports on our Institutional Effectiveness and Program Impact, as well as offering resources to others in the field of philanthropy. As the RBF's mission-aligned investment efforts near the five-year mark, we will increasingly share materials to illustrate our approach and learning on this new tenet of our work and reflect on its challenges, impact, and outcomes.

In 2014, the RBF hired Perella Weinberg Partners Agility as our Outsourced Chief Investment Office (OCIO) to manage, in partnership with the Investment Committee, the Fund’s financial portfolio and mission-aligned investing efforts, including impact investing, ESG investing, and proxy voting. In partnership with Agility and individual fund managers, we seek to develop and refine our approach to assessing the nonfinancial outcomes of our mission-aligned investing.

Impact and ESG Investment Metrics

Impact and ESG investment metrics are still a work in progress across the industry. Recognizing the growing attention to and relevance of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agility and the RBF elected to use the SDGs as a standard for categorizing ESG and impact investment metrics.

In early 2019, Agility reviewed the RBF’s 2017–2018 investment funds’ integration of the SDGs. The resulting report details their focus areas for shareholder engagement and themes for intended impact, which will facilitate ongoing evaluation of the nonfinancial returns of our investments.

Proxy Voting Review

The RBF developed and implemented its revised proxy voting guidelines in 2017. We partner with Agility and Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc., in the implementation and subsequent reporting phases of shareholder engagement and proxy voting.

In 2018, the RBF exercised its proxy votes on a range of issues, including Political Spending and Lobbying, Diversity and Gender Pay Equity, Sustainability and Climate Change, and others. More information on the RBF’s 2018 proxy voting activity is detailed in a new report by Agility.