Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Friends Fiduciary commits itself to diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our work as an authentic expression of our Quaker values. As Friends, we are called to examine and address systemic inequality in the corporate sector, in our portfolios, and in the way we do our work. As Quaker investors, we make the moral case for corporate change on issues of economic, environmental, and social justice and to influence systems and policies that benefit some groups while marginalizing, excluding, and harming others. Organizationally, we seek to model these same principles in our own operations and be active advocates for undoing structural racism. We believe a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive economy is essential to the long-term success of our democratic society and economy and that we have a unique role to play in bringing this about.
Approved by the Board of Directors March 8, 2022
Informing our Daily Practices
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) arose in the mid-17th Century in England. Quakers believe there is “that of God” in everyone and full equality among all people. Since its inception in 1898, Friends Fiduciary has been governed by an all-Quaker board. In its work and decision-making, the board is grounded in these defining beliefs and operates in an atmosphere of trust which encourages respectful sharing of differing opinions and allows for deep listening.
Friends Fiduciary is committed to recruiting board members who are diverse by gender, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, perspectives, and geographic location. This commitment is an important manifestation of our Quaker value of equality, and we believe best positions our organization to address the changing needs of our world and the constituents we serve.
FFC staff are committed to incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into our everyday work. A DEI Staff Working Group was formed to develop goals and lead staff to achieve them. Staff participates in regular trainings in DEI and anti-racism to grow our understanding in this space so that our work can reflect our mission to foster a more just world. Additionally, a DEI Vendor Procurement Policy was developed so that FFC can make every effort to subcontract to businesses owned/operating by under-represented groups, including but not limited to women, BIPOC, Asian, Latin, LGBTQIA+ community, etc.
Our organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is integral to our comprehensive, Quaker values-based investment process. This is reflected in our manager selection, our screening of companies in which we invest, and in our shareholder advocacy. Our investment team employs industry-standard data to assess companies, with a particular focus on how they treat employees and their communities based on gender, race, ethnicity, and other social factors. In addition, we partner with a leading provider of corporate DEI data and analysis to further inform this assessment.
Moreover, we integrate DEI considerations in our asset manager selection and evaluation due diligence processes, including evaluating how our asset managers engage portfolio companies to advance DEI disclosure practices, promote corporate board diversity, and mitigate any adverse impacts their operations may have on marginalized communities.
Friends Fiduciary prioritizes Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in its shareholder advocacy work through: investor coalition advocacy efforts; direct shareholder engagement with companies; and proxy voting.
We support important public policy and advocacy on a range of DEI issues through investor statements. These statements make the business, as well as moral, case for policies and practices that support a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive economy. Examples of some coalition efforts over the past 10 years are linked below and this work continues to this day. We are active in investor coalitions focused on these concerns, including: Investors & Indigenous Peoples Working Group via First Peoples Worldwide and Racial Justice Investing Coalition.
We recognize DEI concerns are intersectional across the environmental, social, and governance spectrum. We lead and participate in DEI focused company engagements on board diversity, inclusive board refreshment policies, greater transparency around board and workforce diversity, and just transition, among other issues. We have engaged companies on conducting racial and civil rights equity audits. These third-party audits assess company impacts on non-white communities and stakeholders of color and recommend remedial company actions to address impacts.
We have DEI focused proxy voting guidelines through which we support shareholder proposals that advance racial justice including proposals that request the addition of women and people of color to boards, increased gender and racial pay gap disclosure, racial equity audits, and EEO-1 disclosures. We vote against company boards where there are not women or people of color on the board. Further information on our proxy voting guidelines and record are linked below.
Trusts and Grantmaking
Friends Fiduciary serves as trustee for 88 funds, some of which have been in existence since the 17th century. Quakers have a history of forward focused philanthropy and many of the trusts administered by FFC reflect that. Several funds created by Quaker donors in the 19th and early 20th centuries continue to support marginalized individuals and are particularly focused on education accessibility.
Through its philanthropic services, FFC works with constituents to support charitable giving programs, with individuals to make gifts to the organizations they value, and it facilitates the granting of FFC trust, merged funds, and donor advisor grant recommendations. All of these avenues are overseen by the Charitable Services Committee which is dedicated to uphold the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in its work. The Committee’s annual DEI Survey provides detailed examples of the intersection of DEI and FFC’s philanthropic services including oversight of membership and operation of distribution committees, review and revision of donor facing materials, and sharing its strategies to encourage change beyond FFC.