November 22, 2014

Haas Raises $250,000 for Socially Responsible Investment Fund

Tapping into a new Berkeley crowdfunding platform, the Haas School's Center for Responsible Business successfully raised more than $250,000 to scale up its Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Fund this semester.

The center surpassed its $100,000 goal, ultimately raising $126,209 from individual donations and corporate matches. That amount then was doubled thanks to a matching gift from alumnus Charlie Michaels, BS 78, bringing the total raised to $252,418. Michaels and his wife, Doris, originally seeded the fund in 2008 with alumni Al Johnson, BS 62, MBA 69, and his wife Marguerite; and Larry Johnson, BS 72, and his wife, Victoria.

Since its launch as the first and largest student-led SRI fund at a top business school, student managers of the Haas SRI Fund have grown the initial investment of $1.1 million to more than $2 million—a return of more than 50 percent over six years. From 2011 to 2014, the fund’s cumulative return beat the KLD social index (used as a benchmark for SRI investing) by almost 5 percent.

"I've never dreamt they would take it this far," Michaels said in a recent article in The Guardian. Ultimately, he hopes the fund will become self-sustaining and also provide funding for the Center for Responsible Business.

As a result of the crowdfunding campaign and Michaels' gift, students will be able to diversify the Haas SRI Fund's assets beyond publicly traded stocks into fixed-income and social-impact bonds, gaining rare real-world experience managing a multi-asset class fund.

Students who have managed the fund have gone on to leadership positions at such firms as the Calvert Social Investment Foundation, Cambridge Associates, and Citi Community Capital.

Those interested in supporting the fund can still donate here and contact the Center for Responsible Business for questions at respbus@haas.berkeley.edu.  Donations can also be made toward general CRB programming here.

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