General Service Foundation is honored to be one of the 140 foundations and charities awarded the 2016 Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Award for Brave Philanthropy for a commitment to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions. We are proud to be a part of the Divest-Invest movement and we see it as a prime example of our organizational commitment to use all of our resources — not just our grants — for impact.
BOGOTA, Colombia, April 28, 2016 — The 140 foundations, family offices and charities of Divest-Invest Philanthropy were awarded the 2016 Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Award for Brave Philanthropy on Thursday by CIVICUS, an international civil society alliance based in South Africa. The foundations, collectively representing more than $12 billion in assets, were honored as part of International Civil Society Week 2016 for their path-breaking commitment to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions.
This year's Brave Philanthropy award marks a new category for the Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards, which were created at the 2004 CIVICUS World Assembly to promote grassroots development and governance in the world. "We added a Brave Philanthropy category to our Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards because we wanted to celebrate examples of donors taking risks, of supporting unpopular causes, of pushing themselves and others to deliver better outcomes," said Dhananjayan "Danny" Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS. "Divest-Invest is a fantastic example of donors walking the talk on something that should be mission-critical to everyone."
The award was accepted by Dr. Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund, on behalf of the 140 foundations at a ceremony hosted by CIVICUS and the National Directive Council of the Colombian Confederation in Bogota, Colombia. Wallace Global Fund has played a key role in the funding, organizing and growth of the global Divest-Invest movement, and has the led the campaign in the philanthropic sector.
"If you own fossil fuels, you own climate change," said Dr. Dorsey. "Climate change will impact the mission of every foundation. We should heed the demands of the global climate justice movement calling on investors to withdraw their funds from fossil fuels. We receive charitable tax-status because we serve the social good, and our investments should as well. Philanthropy isn't just any investor."
Divest-Invest Philanthropy was launched in January 2014 by the Wallace Global Fund to support the wider divestment movement, pushing churches, cities, universities, pension funds, insurers and other institutional investors to invest morally in a time of climate change. Today, institutions and individuals pledging some form of divestment control assets of more than $3.4 trillion. Divest-Invest Philanthropy has since attracted pledges from foundations such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, the Velux Foundations, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, the Mary Robinson Foundation and Trust Africa.
Signatories agree to drop existing investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies and invest at least 5 percent of their portfolios into climate solutions, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean technology and clean energy access, within a five-year period. The director of Divest-Invest Philanthropy, Clara Vondrich, explained what animates members: "Climate change is the ultimate 'threat multiplier,' a fuel fanning flames of war, refugees, hunger and poverty — ultimately threatening arts, culture, education and human progress. Our members understand the silo between philanthropic investments and grantmaking is not acceptable in a time of climate change. We hope this award inspires the rest of the philanthropic sector to join us."
For a full list of Divest-Invest Philanthropy signatories, please visit http://divestinvest.org/philanthropy/signatories/.
For more information on the Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards, please visit http://www.youcanbethechange.com/awards.
Source: Divest-Invest Philanthropy