Invest endowment funds in projects that benefit the environment
In 2015, President Falk and the Board of Trustees announced that the college would respond to climate change by investing approximately $50 million as part of a multipronged, five-year plan. Of that $50 million, $25 million was to be allocated through the endowment to impact investment managers whose areas of expertise include companies, projects or technologies focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2016, Williams made its first impact investment with a manager that provides debt financing to small- and mid-sized alternative energy projects (primarily solar) in North America. The college made its second investment with this manager in 2018, having committed a total of $10 million across the two funds. In 2019, Williams committed $10 million to a second impact investment manager, with a fund that provides equity financing to utility-scale renewable energy projects (primarily wind and storage) in the United States. The college made its second investment with this manager in 2020, having committed a total of $20 million across the two funds.
To date, $30 million of the endowment has been allocated to the theme of climate change, which has had a measurable impact on reducing greenhouse gases. The Investment Office has met with more than 100 fund managers and is encouraged by the maturation of impact investing opportunities, anticipating it to become increasingly prevalent in the near future. Williams College will continue investing the endowment in impact investments that promote reductions in global carbon emissions.