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By Dee Ann Joyner, Associate
Director of Portfolio Advisory Board
The Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) held its spring meeting March 23-24, 2023, at Weber Retreat and Conference Center. The first day was devoted to business items, shareholder advocacy, and community impact investing. The second day focused on strategic planning. PAB member Joe Barker opened the meeting each day with a beautiful reflection and prayer.
The following are highlights from the meeting.
Following a presentation on community investing trends by Charlene Van Dijk, Senior Advisor for Community and Economic Development for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Sister Marilín Llanes, OP, Portfolio Manager, presented an update on the PAB community impact loan portfolio. She then presented five loans for renewal and two new loans for approval.
The PAB approved the following loans for renewal:
New loans were approved for the following borrowing partners:
Pat Zerega, PAB consultant with Mercy Investment Services, and Judy Byron, OP, PAB consultant with the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investing, presented a report on their activities for the 2023 proxy year. They have engaged with 34 companies on 66 topics in three major areas of focus: protection of human rights, healthy persons and communities, and environmental sustainability.
In addition, they filed 17 shareholder resolutions, 13 of which were accompanied by some form of dialogue with the companies. One of the resolutions (with Johnson & Johnson) was withdrawn when the company agreed to support the shareholder request for a third-party audit of the racial impact of its policies, practices, and products. The Adrian Dominican Sisters supported signing on to 24 letters, joining other faith-based investors in expressing viewpoints on actions of various companies at odds with our social impact criteria.
Following the mid-year report, Pat and Sister Judy were joined by Mary Minnette of Mercy Investment Services and shared their observations on trends in shareholder advocacy to inform further discussion by the PAB as part of its strategic planning process.
Cynthia Crim, center, Chair of the Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), stands with Corinne Florek, OP, left, and Judy Byron, OP, as the PAB thanks them for their service.
The PAB and members of the General Council expressed gratitude to Sister Corinne and Sister Judy upon their retirements for their many contributions to PAB. Sister Corinne retired effective June 30, 2022, as portfolio manager, and Sister Judy will retire as shareholder advocacy consultant on June 30, 2023. Contributions were made to the Opportunity Resource Fund and to the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Council respectively in honor of Sisters Corinne and Judy.
Cynthia Crim, PAB Chair, thanked the retirees on behalf of the PAB and Corinne Sanders, OP, General Council Liaison and voting member of PAB, led a toast before members of PAB shared stories and appreciation.
Day two of the PAB meeting was devoted to engaging the board in a discussion of a proposed strategic planning process recommended by its Strategic Planning Committee. Cynthia and Sister Marilín began the day by leading a discussion of the book The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee. Members of the board had been asked to read the first three chapters of the book, which introduces the premise that racist policies impact everyone, not just those persons they are designed to hurt.
Following a discussion of how this impacts the work of PAB, the board spent the rest of the day discussing a logic model, the Theory of Change, as a framework for strategic planning. The discussion was led by PAB member Carla Mannings and Sister Marilín.
After an explanation of the Theory of Change Model, Carla and Marilín presented proposed vision and mission statements recommended by the Strategic Planning Committee. The board adopted the following to guide its work:
PAB Vision: Rooted in the vision, mission, and enactments of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, the Portfolio Advisory Board envisions a beloved community without poverty, hunger, homelessness, and ecological degradation. The beloved community is shaped by its collective voices and is committed to promoting racial and gender equity and systemic changes to policies and practices of institutions inhibiting its realization. Building on its collaborative strength, the beloved community is an active, healthy, and thriving space where all are welcome and have a voice.
PAB Mission: The mission of PAB is to use the assets of the Adrian Dominican Sisters to build the beloved community. We invest in community organizations that create opportunities for those who are marginalized and that embody values of collaboration, inclusiveness, right relationship with Earth, and racial and gender equity. We use our voice as shareholders in corporations to promote policies and practices that build the beloved community.
The board then reviewed the outputs from the PAB September meeting discussion of the Enactments and agreed upon four overarching themes for the strategic plan:
• Shareholder Advocacy
• Community Impact Investing
• Alignment of the Work of PAB for Greater Impact
• Collaboration with Internal and External Partners
A fifth area, Sustainability, will be integrated with the Shareholder Advocacy and Community Impact Investing themes.
The board began work on developing impact statements for the four themes and affirmed continuing to use the Theory of Change framework for its planning process. The Strategic Planning Committee will take the work of the board back to further develop each theme and return with recommendations for the board to consider in September.
The meeting ended with honorable closure. Please see the PAB website for monthly articles on our borrowing partners and shareholder advocacy activities.
Feature Photo at top: Attending the Portfolio Advisory Board Spring 2023 meeting are: standing, from left, Joseph Barker II; Associate Dee Ann Joyner, Director; Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, General Council Co-Liaison; Marilín Llanes, OP, Portfolio Manager; Kristine Cooper, Office Manager; Cynthia Crim, Chair; Pat Zerega, Consultant; Carmen Mora, Vice Chair; Mary Minnette, Consultant; Carla Mannings; Corinne Sanders, OP, General Council Co-Liaison; and Janice Brown, OP, General Councilor and former Board member. Seated or kneeling, from left, are Corinne Florek, OP, retired Consultant; Judy Byron, OP, Consultant; and Mary Priniski, OP.
January 31, 2023, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – The untimely death of Caldwell Dominican Sister Patricia Daly, OP – a member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board and Executive Director of the Tri State Coalition for Responsible Investment – led Cliff Rosenthal to reflect on the heroes of the socially responsible investment movement.
Through socially responsible investment, faith-based and other organizations invest or provide low-interest loans to community-based enterprises that promote social, economic, and environmental justice in local communities.
Cliff recalled that, in 1982, he sought funding for his Capitalization Program, which sought to raise private investments to be channeled to credit unions serving communities suffering from poverty. He secured a low-interest $30,000 loan from the PAB – in spite of his organization’s lack of a financial track record and little staff capacity. “In every sense, it was an act of faith,” he wrote. The PAB investment “spurred other Catholic women’s orders to make loans to us, as well, and we were on our way.”
Read Cliff’s reflection on Sister Patricia, the PAB, and other faith-based investors, found on the website of Next City.