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Report Card 2010

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Dickinson College

Endowment Survey

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With the publication of the College Sustainability Report Card 2010, more than 1,100 school survey responses from over 300 institutions are now available online. In total, these surveys offer more than 10,000 pages of data collected from colleges and universities during the summer of 2009 . To access surveys from other schools, go to the  surveys section  of the website. To see grades, or to access additional surveys submitted by this school, please click the "Back to Report Card" link at the beginning or end of the survey.


Names: Annette S. Parker ’73, Treasurer, and Caroline Peri ’10, SRI Intern
Included above
Date survey submitted:
July 24, 2009

1) How does your school handle proxy voting on environmental, social, and governance issues?
(a) We do not have the ability to vote proxies as the entire equity holdings of the endowment are invested in mutual funds (e.g. CommonFund, Fidelity, Vanguard, etc.).
(b) We ask that our investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
(c) We provide our investment managers with general guidelines that determine our proxy votes.
(d) We provide our investment managers with specific corporate governance guidelines that determine our proxy votes.*
(e) We provide our investment managers with specific environmental and social guidelines that determine our proxy votes.*
(f) A member of our school administration determines our proxy votes.
(g) A committee of administrators and/or trustees deliberates and makes decisions on proxy votes.
(h) A committee that includes student representatives deliberates and makes recommendations or decisions on proxy votes.
(i) School community feedback is incorporated into proxy voting decisions through town hall meetings or a website.

Your answers:

Proxy voting on corporate governance matters:  A, C, and H

Proxy voting on environmental and social resolutions: A, C and H

During fall 2008, proxy voting strategies for the directly invested portion of the endowment (3.4% of the total endowment in one concentrated portfolio of 30 large cap domestic stocks) were discussed during the bi-monthly meetings of the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Discussion Group. The group reviewed these recommendations with representatives from the single investment manager which held individual issues.  During spring 2009, proxy voting issues focusing on the Google ballot formed the center of discussions.  The SRI Group made recommendations to the asset manager on behalf of the College.  


Following asset reallocations in spring 2009, the College’s only directly invested equity portfolio was closed and funds were moved into mutual fund investments.  As a result, the entire pooled endowment is now invested in mutual funds.  Of the remaining non-pooled assets (deferred gifts, other endowment funds, funds held in trust by others, and pledges receivable), all are held in mutual funds, pooled fund investments or real estate, with the exception of pledges receivable. Alternative methods for continuing to engage proxy issues are being considered by the SRI Group.   

2) If you answered "g" or "h" to question 1, please provide the following information about the committee:

Name of committee: Dickinson College Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Group
Number of meetings held since August 2008: 12
Name of chair(s): Annette Parker, VP and Treasurer
Position of chair (e.g., administrator, faculty, staff, student): Administrator
To whom does the committee report (e.g., Trustee Committee, President, Vice President): President
Number of administrators on committee: 2
Number of alumni on committee: 1
Number of faculty on committee: 4
Number of staff on committee: 1
Number of students on committee: 6
Number of trustees on committee:
Total number of committee members: 14

The SRI Discussion Group was convened by President William Durden in August 2007 to familiarize the Dickinson community with the College’s investment policy and portfolio and to determine how SRI principles align with Dickinson’s mission as an educational institution. The group is composed of faculty, students, administrators and alumni who represent a variety of disciplines and viewpoints.

In September 2008, the group hosted a College-wide Common Hour discussion to introduce the new Investments and SRI web site (see www.dickinson.edu/finops/ investments), and to educate the campus community about socially responsible investing issues.  Additionally, the group met biweekly through the year to discuss how the College should focus its commitment to socially responsible investing principles in a recession economy and how to engage more students and staff members in the issues. 

In February 2009, the group sent three students to a Responsible Endowments Coalition conference in New York. With new students involved, the group discussed its continued role at the College. Proxies for the directly-invested portion of the endowment (reallocated later in the spring to mutual funds) were discussed over several meetings.  Students spent significant time in initial research and made presentations to the SRI group on proxy issues. The group as a whole debated and voted on final positions on behalf of the College.

Plans for fall 2009 include a second annual College-wide forum to engage the community about the SRI group’s role and its work; to consider creating a student-run green investing paper portfolio; to continue discussion about how to best monitor the ethical and environmental consequences of our investments; and to determine how to engage proxy issues, now that the College no longer has any accounts structured around direct equity investments.

Throughout the course of the year, Dickinson College has given considerable thought to the issue of SRI in these challenging economic times.  While the College, like many other institutions, has felt the negative effects of the financial crisis, it has remained committed to balancing environmental, social and financial outcomes in making investment decisions, as a way to ensure the protection of valuable assets for the future.  In a statement from July 2009, College Treasurer Annette Parker wrote that “the College approaches its finances from a Triple Bottom Line perspective, i.e., the management of three bottom lines or net business outcomes: financial, social, and environmental.”  Though the report acknowledges the fact that the College’s endowment has suffered monetary losses, it still contains plans to balance the budget, increase financial aid for students, and remain true to the Strategic Plan goals and initiatives. The continuing support of socially responsible investment in a time of turbulence marks the important role that this type of thinking plays in Dickinson’s investment decisions.


3) Please indicate what information about proxy voting records is made available to each of the groups listed under "Your answers" (select all that apply):
(a)  No information is made available
(b)  Votes cast on proxy resolutions only by category (and not company specific)
(c)  Votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level
(d)  Votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares

Your answers:
Trustees and senior administrators: D
Trustees, senior administrators and other select members of the school community: D
All members of the school community including faculty, staff, students and alumni: C
The public per open records law: C
The public: C

Note: These answers apply to the proxy voting information for the 2008-2009 school year and reflect the policies applied by the College to the directly invested funds (3.4% of the total endowment).  Following allocation changes in spring 2009, the College portfolio no longer contains any directly invested funds.

4) Where is information about proxy voting records made available?
(a) Information is not made available.
(b) Information is available at the investment office or similar office on campus.
(c) Information is sent to individuals upon request.
(d) Information is on the school website with password protection.
(e) Information is on the school website and is accessible to the public.

Your answers:
To the school community.
Proxy voting records on environmental and social resolutions: E
Proxy voting records on corporate governance matters: E

To the public.
Proxy voting records on environmental and social resolutions: E
Proxy voting records on corporate governance matters: E

Information on the College’s proxy voting records is available on the investments web site. Due to the sensitive nature of this information, only basic information is available to the public. More detailed information is available to members of the school community including faculty, staff, students, and alumni via the campus’s internal network.


In addition, the SRI Discussion Group hosted a Common Hour panel discussion entitled “From Divestment to Engagement: What It Means to Be Socially Responsible” on September 25, 2008. The panel included faculty and student representatives from the following perspectives: Finance and Investment, Social Justice and Human Rights, and Sustainability and the Environment.  This event was well-attended by members of the entire college community.  The Group plans to make this an annual event in order to continue to engage our entire community about the current events and status of SRI at Dickinson.


5) Please indicate what information about endowment holdings is made available to each of the groups listed under "Your answers" (select all that apply):
(a)  No information is made available
(b)  Asset allocation
(c)  List of external managers
(d)  List of mutual funds
(e)  Equity holdings
(f)  Fixed income holdings
(g)  Real estate holdings
(h)  Hedge fund holdings
(i)  Private equity holdings
(j)  Venture capital holdings
(k)  Natural resource holdings
(l)  Cash
(m)  Other holdings (please specify)
(n)  All holdings

Your answers:
Available to trustees and senior administrators:  N
Available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community: N
Available to all members of the school community, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni: N
Available to the public per open records law: B, D
Available to the public: B, D

6) Please indicate where information about endowment holdings is made available to the school community and to the public:
(a) Information is not made available.
(b) Information is available at the investment office or similar office on campus.
(c) Information is sent to individuals upon request.
(d) Information is on the school website with password protection.
(e) Information is on the school website and is accessible to the public.

Your answers:
To the school community: E
To the public: E

Two student internships were created in 2008 to focus on Dickinson College’s Endowment Transparency project. The interns were challenged to design and implement new ways of communicating information about the College’s investment portfolio and its approach to socially responsible investment. A website is in place where readers can learn about the College’s endowment, proxy voting records, and Dickinson’s approach to SRI. The site is updated regularly as new information about the endowment holdings and investment decisions is released.  (Dickinson is in the process of migrating to a new website.  All webpages are currently being reformatted consistent with the new look.  As a result, the updated investments webpage, including June 30, 2009 data, will be unavailable until late August 2009.)

7) Is your school currently invested in any of the following areas? (Please list all that apply.)
(a) Renewable energy funds or similar investment vehicles
(b) Community development financial institutions or community development loan funds
(c) On-campus energy and/or water efficiency projects through the endowment (as an investment and not a payout)
(d) None of the above

Your answer: A, B, and C

Approximately $2 million of Dickinson College’s endowment is invested in “social responsibility” funds.

The $6 million high efficiency central energy plant was financed by leveraging the unrestricted endowment.

Furthermore, the College is committed to being a leader in sustainability education and continues to commit significant College dollars to direct investments in sustainability through a multifaceted approach:

·     $1.4 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to study ways to integrate sustainability into all academic disciplines.  Out of the planning grant has grown the Sustainability Working Group – including more than 20 faculty members and 10 College Administrators – each of whom is committed to advancing sustainability by educating all of the College’s students towards a more sustainable future. The Mellon Grant has funded the creation of the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, created in 2008, to further the advancement of sustainability within the curriculum; a newly hired director (summer 2008) and a Sustainability Education Coordinator (January 2009); a new faculty position in the field of environmental health; and the creation of a postdoctoral position in geographic information systems. The Center is part of the division of Academic Affairs and reports to the Provost of the College. While the mission of CESE is primarily educational, the Center collaborates with administrative units in all divisions of the College to facilitate integration of curricular, co-curricular, research, operations, administrative, and community outreach efforts to be mutually reinforcing in creating a coherent, College-wide sustainability program. Some of the campus organizations with which CESE works are the Office of Sustainability in Facilities Management, the Community Studies Center, the Office of Global Education, Office of Service Learning, the Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring, the Dickinson College Farm, the Clarke Forum, Dickinson SAVES, Library and Information Services, the Office of College and Community Development, the Office of Religious Life and Community Service, and Campus Life.  The College budget, including proceeds from the endowment, supports these initiatives in significant ways. 

·     Wind power – The College was recently awarded the 2008 Green Power Hero award for Power Purchasing.  The College has made significant direct investments in green technology, having recently completed a high efficiency $6 million central energy plant and having just signed a contract for RECs equivalent to 100% of our purchased electricity (18,000,000 kWh), effective September 1, 2009. 

·     “Leadership circle” of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment – Dickinson has taken a leadership role in committing to reducing carbon emissions to zero within 20 years and by taking the challenge to other institutions.

·     Fleet vehicles – Fleet currently includes four hybrids and another is on order. The College also expects to purchase two electric vehicles during current year.

·     Campus master plan – Sustainability was a critical element in the formulation of the College’s most recent 20-year Campus Master Plan, completed in 2008.    In fact, sustainable design was an important aspect of the consultant selection process, and the decision to use Zimmer Gunsul Frasca and Andropogon (architecture and landscape design, respectfully), was made largely made on the reputation and portfolios of both firms in the area of sustainable design.  Many of the important elements of the final plan were developed with sustainability as a key determining factor, including using existing spaces to the greatest extent possible prior to building new space, moving parking to the perimeter of campus to allow for green space in the heart of the campus, designing campus landscapes to minimize the use of irrigation and mowing and fertilizers, and designing spaces that become learning elements for faculty and students by the very nature of their operation and design – to name just a few.


URL: http://www.dickinson.edu/departments/facilities/campusmasterplan.html

Includes significant focus on a “green” campus, including.

·  College farm/CSA program – Following the development of a successful organic garden program over many years (see response from Dining Services), the College expanded its operations in 2007 into an academic and internship organic farm program on 30 College-owned acres (slated for 50 acres over time). Investments include capital improvements of almost $0.5 million during FY08 and FY09 and annual operating support of $100k. 

·    Investing in sustainable design – The new Rector Science Complex has earned LEED Gold certification.  The College’s commitment to sustainability and the achievement of this LEED rating added 5% to the cost of construction on this $34 million project.  Additionally, the Center for Sustainable Living, a student residential facility, has also earned LEED Gold Certification.    

·         Providing students with the opportunity to learn about sustainable investment first-hand, for example, through financial and logistical support to attend the national SustaInvest portfolio competition at Cornell University, The Johnson School, Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise.  Dickinson student Evan Kontras finished in the top 4 nationally. 

·         $25,000 Mellon Foundation planning grant – to investigate new avenues in which academic programming and operations on environmentalism and sustainability can become a defining characteristic for Dickinson and to articulate how the College’s expertise in global programming can inform a broader approach to international sustainability issues. The team of 21 faculty members representing all divisions of the college and twelve administrators – including members of President’s Staff, Academic Affairs, grants/development and campus operations – met for intensive sessions in June and August 2007.

·     Leading edge biodiesel project – Currently generate 110 gallons of biodiesel per week from waste food oil. Further, generate soap for College use from the waste product of the biodiesel process.

·     New solar array – Dickinson received a Pennsylvania Dept of Environmental Protection Energy Harvest Program grant of $250k for a solar array at the College’s new energy plant. College investment included a $250k match.

·     CREDC Keystone Innovation Grant to develop solar energy to heat greenhouse at organic farm. $10k grant; $11,465 match.

·    Composting projects – received a grant ($250k) for composting projects on campus related to reusing food and material waste products in the “Farm to Table” program.

·     Center for Sustainable Living – $1.4 million capital project in 2006, providing opportunity for 14 students to match their commitment to live sustainably with a technologically-advanced facility designed for fossil fuel, water and electricity efficiency. Has achieved LEED gold certification, the first gold residence hall in Pennsylvania. In 2009, we received a $15k grant through Solar Scholars to build photovoltaic panels for the facility.

·     Extensive environmental studies/science program – In 2006, moved into $4.5 million capital renovation of industrial space rehabbed to green standards for classrooms, offices and labs.

·    Investing in energy conservation and efficiency – New central energy plant included $5.5 million capital funding in FY06.

·         Currently pursuing two PA Conservation Works Grants: one to upgrade 70 exterior lighting fixtures on Dickinson and Rush campuses to LED fixtures and add 61 solar lamp posts in six parking lots, which is budgeted at $333,333--$250,000 grant request and $83,333 match, and a second to replace halogen and incandescent light bulbs in the HUB, ATS, the Library and Tome with LED bulbs, which is budgeted at $115,000--$86,250 grant request and $26,250 match.

·         Also currently pursuing a PEDA Grant to replace the roof on Kaufman Hall using green roof and renewable energy technologies.  Budgeted at $1,418,541--$1M grant request and $418,541 match.

·         Planning for student-run, green investment portfolio (to begin as paper portfolio) during FY10.

Dickinson is also committed to the broader Carlisle community. Direct investments in community revitalization and service include:

·    $50,000 for Phase I (assessment) and Phase II (architectural/engineering survey) of a College-funded study through Janis Barlow and Associates to assess the College’s programs and facilities and the historic Carlisle Theatre, a local 501(c)(3) organization, to determine the possibility and viability of a future collaborative relationship between the Theatre and the College related to theatrical programming and operations. 

·         25,000 sq ft of rent-free space for operations and distribution to local food bank, providing services food and services to low-income population.

·         Provides space for bio-tech start-up firm which, in turn, engages students in research internships.  Currently in marketing phase for device to detect E-coli in salad greens. 

·     Rehabbed old YMCA building downtown into apartments for students involved in community service. Operating commitment $227k per year, 15 years.

·     $250k loan to community for downtown hotel. No interest loan for 5 years; now 10 years at subsidized interest.

·     Funds two homebuyer programs to help employees purchase homes in downtown revitalization zones.

·     Participated as a partner in the Pitt Street Pride neighborhood revitalization project.

·     Leases offices downtown for college-community partnership offices, faculty sabbatical offices, and Carlisle Victory Circle (a United Way partner agency offering tutoring services to underprivileged children).

·     Leases the second floor of the Carlisle Theatre as our “black box” performance space and experimental theatre venue at $48,000 per year which roughly pays the mortgage for the Theatre. 

·     Spearheaded Carlisle “High I” Initiative to spark retail revitalization of two blocks contiguous to campus. College provided $100,000 seed money for retail development study and retail coordinator.

·     Contributes over $300,000 per year in real estate taxes to local municipalities and school districts on properties purchased since 1985, that could have been rezoned institutional but, as a policy, the College has NOT removed from tax rolls.

·    Contributed $50,000 to fund a traffic study in conjunction with the Borough of Carlisle’s efforts to reduce truck traffic, promote walking and biking, and improve the air quality of the town.  Project, titled the “Road Diet,” was recently approved by the PA Dept of Transportation and is moving forward. 


·         Provides $55,000 annually to local municipality for in lieu of tax contribution and for safety initiatives, including lead gift to recent Carlisle Volunteer Firefighters Association campaign.


  8) Is your school currently exploring investment in any of the following areas? (Please list all that apply.)
(a) Renewable energy funds or similar investment vehicles
(b) Community development financial institutions or community development loan funds
(c) On-campus energy and/or water efficiency projects through the endowment (as an investment and not as a payout)
(d) None of the above

Your answer: A, B, and C

The College has made significant direct investments in green technology, having recently completed a high efficiency $6 million central energy plant and having just signed a contract for RECs equivalent to 100% of our purchased electricity (18,000,000 kWh), effective September 1, 2009.  The high efficiency energy plant was funded by leveraging the unrestricted endowment. 

In keeping with its Triple Bottom Line approach to business decisions, Dickinson plans to maintain its current investments in social outreach and community development projects, as well as to become more involved with the local environment and society.  A particular focus on renewable energy and water efficiency projects are being pursued by Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability.

Additionally, the College is consistently looking for investment vehicles that promote environmental and ethical responsibility.  Over the last year, the College’s investment portfolio increased its exposure to “green” investments within the pooled endowment, while retaining its disciplined criteria for risk and returns.     

From the SRI Webpage:  “The Triple Bottom Line refers to the management of three bottom lines or net business outcomes: financial, social, and environmental. Increasingly, both for-profit and nonprofit organizations are pursuing outcomes that balance economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social justice.4 The Triple Bottom Line approach to sustainability is also known as the People, Planet, and Profit approach. ―People references human capital and constitutes fair labor policies and organizational practices that benefit the surrounding community. ―Planet pertains to natural capital and encompasses the actions of organizations to safeguard and enhance our natural environment. ―Profit concerns financial capital and addresses the need for economic benefits that ensure the long-term viability of both the organization and the community in which it operates.  (Elkington, John. 1997. Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21 st Century Business . Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons. )”



9) Does your school have any investment policy provisions, or use any investment managers that consider environmental/sustainability factors?
(a) No
(b) Yes (please describe)
(c) Currently under consideration (please describe)

Your answer : B and C

The College is working with its investment advisors to identify “green” investments that meet investment guidelines and risk/reward criteria, while increasing exposure in the portfolio to environmentally focused investments.  Illustrations include investments (through mutual funds) in The Investable Emerging Markets Fund, ArcLight Energy Partners, New Mountain Capital, Wellington Real Assets Fund, General Catalyst Group V (a private partnership), and Oakleaf Global Holdings.  As an illustration, Oakleaf is a technology-enabled services company that uses in-house technical expertise to redesign customers’ processes to reduce waste and to expand their use of environmentally ‘”green” alternatives to traditional waste disposal approaches. 

Approximately $2 million of the College’s endowment is invested in “social responsibility” funds. 

The College’s current investment policy, as approved by the Board of Trustees, provides the following protocol for dealing with environmentally and socially conscious investment concerns:

Proxy Voting and Social Investing Policy (Dickinson College June 2007)

Dickinson College is a community of scholars where freedom of expression is at once celebrated and carefully guarded. There may, however, emerge political, cultural or social issues that are so compelling as to lead the College to take a position with regard to investment strategy. In those exceptional cases, the issue must be:

1.     Presented to the Vice President for Finance who will work with concerned parties to assure that the issue is carefully addressed

2.     Considered by the Committee on Investments as to its implications on the portfolio

3. Vice President for Finance will provide the results of the research to the President of the College, Chairperson of the Investment Committee, and to the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees for consideration.

Additionally, the Socially Responsible Investment Discussion Group (SRI)  has become a continuing collegial body which will meet bimonthly during the school year to engage in proxy voting, make recommendations to the Board about shareholder action, and educate students and faculty about SRI and the endowment policy, while considering related concerns of the Dickinson community, as they arise.

Over the last year, this group has reviewed the College’s investment portfolio, studied numerous non-profit investment models, debated what a socially responsible approach means to the College’s operations and investments, and considered how to develop a “Triple Bottom Line” for the College. This investment method makes a commitment to balancing financial, social, and environmental returns. The group concluded that the best course of action, in accordance with the goals and mission of Dickinson College, was to practice shareholder engagement and community investment strategies.

During spring 2008, the group conducted a conference call with Schlumberger, the only holding in Dickinson’s portfolio that routinely shows up as a “divestment” target. Discussion included question and answer regarding Schlumberger’s business operations in Darfur and its corporate social responsibility policies.

During fall 2008, the group began considering proxy voting issues with the thirty managers that were part of the directly invested holdings. Members of the group discussed the issues at hand and collaboratively decided to make recommendations to the investment manager on the College’s position.

Although the College portfolio (since spring 2009) no longer includes any accounts holding direct issues of stock (thus, providing opportunities for direct proxy voting), plans for the future include continued discussion about how to monitor the practices and behaviors of companies included in our mutual funds, as well as more ways to practice shareholder engagement and community education and investment. The College is committed to continuing to practice its “Triple Bottom Line” strategy.


10) Does your school offer donors the option of directing gifts to an investment fund that considers environmental/sustainability factors?
(a) No
(b) Yes (please describe)
(c) Currently under consideration (please describe)

Your answer : B and C

Currently, donors can choose to direct their annual contribution, regardless of size, towards funds that support a variety of causes including sustainability initiatives on campus.

Dickinson is committed to being a leader in environmental sustainability and accountability in every facet of campus life. Gifts to the sustainability fund will support on-campus initiatives to preserve our natural resources for the 21st century and beyond.


A current proposal aims to create a “green giving fund” for alumni donations. The SRI group will discuss this further during fall 2009, using the “triple bottom line” model to guide their conversation and will then begin to work with the Division of Advancement, recent alumni and the senior class gift drive coordinators on the possibilities.


Question 11 is for informational purposes only; responses will NOT be included in the Report Card evaluation process.


11) Please provide total endowment value as of the following dates:
6/30/2008: $349.8 million
9/30/2008: $322.5 million
12/31/2008: $270.8 million
3/31/2009: $259.1 million
6/30/2009 (may be submitted separately at a later date): Estimated $278.1.  Final will be available 8/2009



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