Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.77
Liaison Nathanael Schildbach
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Massachusetts Amherst
IN-24: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Ezra Small
Sustainability Manager
Physical Plant
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
University of Massachusetts - Divestment

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In May 2016, the University of Massachusetts became the first major public university to divest its endowment from direct holdings in fossil fuels. The decision was made by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of the UMass Foundation, a separate not-for-profit corporation that oversees an endowment whose value was $770 million at the end of the last fiscal year.

The decision followed a series of developments that signaled the University community’s desire to fight climate change. In 2015, the Foundation voted to divest from direct holdings in coal companies in response to a petition from the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, a student group. The UMass Board of Trustees later endorsed the Foundation’s decision and described climate change as “a serious threat to the planet".

The UMass Foundation's adoption of this divestment position is among the most aggressive established for any major university—public or private—in the United States. The Foundation’s primary responsibility is a fiduciary one. Its primary mission is overseeing the endowment in an effort to maximize returns on funds donated for research, academic programs, financial aid and other purposes. That the UMass Foundation took this step reflects not just their comfort as fiduciaries but the seriousness with which they view climate change and sustainability issues.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Public Engagement
Air & Climate
Investment & Finance

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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