March 13, 2018, Seattle, Washington – Faith-based shareholders – including the Adrian Dominican Sisters and other congregations of women religious – have found some success in their long-term campaign to work with gun manufacturers and dealers to reduce gun violence in the United States.
In the spring of 2016, Adrian Dominican Sister Judy Byron, OP, met with a group of faith-based members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) to address the issue of gun safety. In response, 15 religious communities, including the Adrian Dominican Sisters, bought stock in gun manufacturers Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands, and retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods so that they could work with these companies to reduce the availability of guns.
The faith-based investors requested a dialogue with the three companies. As a result of their discussions, Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to stop selling assault weapons in their stores. Because the other two companies did not respond to their request, the investors filed shareholder resolutions asking that the companies issue reports by February 2019 on their “activities related to gun safety measures and the mitigation of harm associated with products produced by the company.”
Sister Judy said that when the issue of gun safety was brought up two years ago, “we never wanted to be where we are today, grieving our children and teachers who were murdered and wounded at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day. But we are here, and we are being led by the young people who are demanding that we take action to end gun violence.”
The religious communities’ work with the corporations is one example of the corporate responsibility work of organizations such as the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB). The PAB is also involved in community investment, granting low-interest loans to non-profit organizations that address the needs of local communities.
For more on the efforts in the area of gun violence, read the CNBC article and the report by the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center.
September 15, 2015, Adrian, Michigan – Current and past members of the Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, and members of the general public marked the 40th anniversary of the PAB September 10 with a day of education and an evening program and celebration. The event took place at Weber Retreat and Conference Center on the Motherhouse campus.
Highlighting the day was a special celebratory program (see videos below) detailing the history and the 40-year efforts of the PAB to bring about economic justice through work in corporate responsibility, low-interest loan investment in non-profit community organizations around the world. The PAB also works to educate board members and the community about social justice issues of concern to the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
The program included talks by such speakers as Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, Prioress of the Congregation; Sister Kathleen Schanz, OP, General Council liaison to the PAB; and Dee Joyner, an Adrian Dominican Associate and Chair of the PAB. A 20-minute video featured comments of people from other organizations who collaborated with the PAB over the years. The celebration concluded with a reception.
Throughout the day, participants heard from a variety of speakers. In the opening session, Sarah Power spoke of the efforts of Con-way, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based freight transportation corporation, to combat human trafficking through its collaboration with Truckers against Trafficking. Sarah told the moving story of one driver for Con-way who, through his vigilant attitude, helped law enforcement to uncover a trafficking ring and bring freedom to 14 women caught in trafficking.
Pat Zerega, of Mercy Investment Services, explained the science behind climate change and discussed the choices that our society can make to lessen its effects. She also addressed ways that religious congregations can work to decrease climate change through such practices as divesting from fossil-fuel companies or engaging in shareholder resolutions.
The afternoon brought speakers from two of the community organizations in which the PAB has invested through low-interest loans. The speakers in both sessions spoke of the positive impact of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ investment in their organizations had on their work and the community they serve.
Leading off was Charles Hammerman, president and CEO of Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF). He gave the Scriptural foundation for caring for people with disabilities and explained the work of DOF. The organization is the first community investment organization to focus on the needs of people with disabilities.
In the closing session of the Day of Education, James Balmer, President of Dawn Farm, and Charles Coleman, coordinator of Dawn Farm’s Chapin Street housing project, spoke of their work to offer free recovery and transitional housing programs for people suffering from addictions.
Top photo: Associate Dee Joyner (left), Chair of the Portfolio Advisory Board, and Lura Mack, Executive Director, at the 40th anniversary celebration.
Adrian Dominican Sisters Portfolio Advisory Board
September 10, 2015
Session 1: Human Trafficking
Sarah Power, Con-way
Session 2: Climate Change
Pat Zerega, Mercy Investment Services
Session 3: Supportive Housing
Charles Hammerman, Disability Opportunity Fund
Session 4: Supportive Housing / Programs
James Balmer & Charles Coleman, Dawn Farm
Session 5: Celebrating 40 Years of Socially Responsible Investing