Grantee/Partner News

Divest-Invest Wins the Nelson Mandela-Graca Machel Award for Brave Philanthropy

April 29, 2016

News From Divest-Invest:

We are so pleased to announce that this afternoon in Bogota, Colombia, Ellen Dorsey will accept the inaugural Nelson Mandela-Graca Machel Award for Brave Philanthropy on behalf of you, the 140 foundations and family offices of Divest-Invest Philanthropy. The award is presented by CIVICUS, an international civil society alliance based in South Africa.

This year’s Brave Philanthropy award marks a new category for the Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards, which were created at the 2004 CIVICUS World Assembly to promote grassroots development and governance in the world.

“We added a Brave Philanthropy category to our Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards because we wanted to celebrate examples of donors taking risks, of supporting unpopular causes, of pushing themselves and others to deliver better outcomes,” said Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS. “Divest-Invest is a fantastic example of donors walking the talk on something that should be mission-critical to everyone.”

We want to take this moment to thank you for your leadership, with a special shout out to the first 17 of you that took a leap of faith back in January 2014 to buck the status quo and reject the historic silo between investments and grantmaking. By joining the movement to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions, your foundation has led the philanthropic sector to act in solidarity with the most potent coalition for climate action in the world.

Our movement is global and diverse, with pledges from over 500 hundred institutional investors and tens of thousands of individuals. As of December 2, 2015, the assets under management of divesting institutions exceeded $3.4 trillion. Together, the 140 foundations of Divest-Invest Philanthropy account for more than $12 billion of that figure.

Thank you for stepping up — and speaking out — to align your investments with your values. Many of your peers are now divesting quietly, recognizing it’s no longer prudent to invest in a dying industry: That you did this publicly took real courage. The contributions you are making, or will make, to sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable water and food projects, efficiency, cleantech and energy access, are the foundation for a new future.  

In order to highlight your achievement, attract new signatories, and keep the drumbeat marching for the movement, we have invested in a targeted communications push focused on philanthropic publications. The primary components are:

The animating force and inspiration behind Divest-Invest Philanthropy has always been Nelson Mandela and the original divestment campaign that helped topple Apartheid South Africa. We hope you receive this tremendous honor as both a gift and a powerful call to continue our work on behalf of the movement and in service to the planet and the people.

Thanks again for all that you do!

All the best,

Clara Vondrich, Director Divest-Invest Philanthropy

Divest-Invest Philanthropy Management Committee:
Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director, Wallace Global Fund
Ellen Friedman, Executive Director, Compton Foundation
Geraldine Watson, Vice President for Finance and Operations, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Richard Woo, Chief Executive Officer, Russell Family Fund

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