Investment Strategy

Portfolio-wide Impact

The Sierra Club Foundation's investment strategy is to achieve superior long-term performance in mission-aligned investments while moderating financial risk to maximize the resources available to meet the mission objectives of the Foundation.

The Foundation will maintain no holdings in companies with fossil fuel reserves and will seek to minimize exposure to pipelines, field services and other companies whose revenues are primarily derived from the fossil-fuel industry. (However, the Foundation may hold minimal direct ownership in these companies in a separate engagement account for the purposes of shareholder advocacy.) In addition, as consistent with its mission, the Foundation will consider broader environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and seek to invest in those companies that are actively working to address their greenhouse gas emissions, comply with ESG best practices, and incorporate sustainability into their businesses. Working with investment managers, the Foundation also seeks to ensure that proxy voting is in line with its mission and to engage where possible in line with the mission.

Through its Catalytic Capital Portfolio, the Foundation invests a portion of its assets in climate solutions that also advance racial and economic justice. This portfolio strives to preserve capital and prioritizes opportunities for investments to be catalytic by providing early stage capital, investing in under resourced communities, and leveraging the well recognized brand of the Sierra Club Foundation (impact first rather than the production of income or appreciation of property).

Investment Portfolios

• The Endowment Portfolio is invested for total return to preserve purchasing power over full market cycles and to provide for the annual program spending of the Foundation. A portion of the Endowment Portfolio invests in emerging managers and strategies aligned with the Foundation’s mission. This portfolio may assume a higher level of operational and performance risk.
• The Long-Term Operating Portfolio is also invested for total return in a manner to build a hedge against inflation over full market cycles and is intended to be used only when short-term funds are not sufficient to meet liquidity needs. A portion of this portfolio is also devoted to mission-aligned investments in emerging managers and strategies.
• The Planned Giving Portfolio contains gifted assets in which the Foundation has a residual interest. These are invested to meet payout requirements of the trust or annuity, minimize beneficiary tax impact, and provide the maximum remainder value to the Foundation.
• The Short-Term Operating Portfolio is invested to achieve reasonable current income with capital preservation and minimum market volatility.
• The Catalytic Capital Portfolio is an allocation for projects and funds that advance climate solutions, social equity and justice, and is intended to catalyze additional investment by helping to de-risk, blend capital with a range of other types of capital, and maximize community control over projects to achieve at least one of the following goals: (1) deploy and scale clean energy, energy storage, and energy efficiency solutions for under resourced populations; (2) enhance equitable and just access to affordable clean energy or other climate solutions; (3) create good jobs, especially in under resourced communities, to support the transition to a low carbon economy; (4) support natural systems solutions that effectively take carbon out of the atmosphere.

For more information, see our Investment Policy Statement.