The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts (CFNCM), a public charity serving the philanthropic interests of donors in the north central region of the Commonwealth, today announced a new long-term investment option for its current and future fund holders. With the help of investment company Mason Investment Advisors, they have developed a new option that considers environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in selecting companies to include in the investment portfolio.

“A growing number of our fundholders have asked about an ESG option for the funds they have entrusted with us,” said Stephen Adams, president of the Community Foundation. “As attention to issues like climate change grows, so does the level of investments in ESG-rated funds across the economy. In 2021, U.S. investors poured $649 billion into ESG-focused funds, up from $285 billion in 2019.”

The ESG criteria represent a set of standards used by some investors to screen potential investments based on a firm’s operating practices:

  • Environmental criteria consider how a company affects the environment and its policies towards issues like climate change.
  • Social criteria measure how a company interacts with employees, suppliers, customers and the communities where it operates.
  • Governance addresses a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls and shareholder rights.

Investment portfolio managers can either include or exclude certain companies based on how a company performs on ESG criteria. For example, an investor may wish to include companies focused on clean and renewable energy, or those with certain human capital management practices like strong gender or racial diversity programs. Alternatively, an investor may wish to exclude companies that rate poorly on environmental criteria like some energy companies, or firms with low ratings in employee management or with weak internal controls.

“This ESG Fund option is an additional benefit of partnering with the Community Foundation, said Adams. “It provides fundholders with another way to have their philanthropic dollars support their values. We encourage anyone who wants to learn more to contact us.”

The Community Foundation offers individuals, families and businesses an efficient and impactful way to manage their philanthropy and improve the quality of life in North Central Massachusetts.