Sustainable investing complements traditional investing with environmental, social, and governance-related (ESG) analysis to improve long-term outcomes. This is just one of the learnings shared by the Jarislowsky Fraser team at their session for RECONNECT 2023, their first session within the Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) network as CFC’s Sustainability Partner.

Founded in 1955 as a research boutique, Jarislowsky Fraser is one of Canada’s most experienced active investment managers.  Today, it manages the portfolios of pension funds, foundations and endowments, corporations and high-net-worth individuals in Canada and internationally — representing more than $55 billion in assets under management (as of June 30, 2023).

Over the last several years, the community foundation network has been working to support a sustainable future by engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals, participating in the Communities for Climate Resilience Cohort, or learning what impact investing means. Bringing in Jarislowsky Fraser as our Sustainability Partner allows us to continue to move this work forward.

This is something that Jarislowsky Fraser has already started. During their session, Jarislowsky Fraser’s team partnered with Jennifer DeBues, executive director of Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, to curate and share a presentation that was engaging, thoughtful and relevant to CFs. They described the process through which Jarislowsky Fraser supported Peterborough as they revamped their Investment Policy Statement (IPS). During their RECONNECT session, Exploring Missions-Aligned Investing, panelists explored what an IPS is and how community foundations can either start their journey to create one, or look at ways to improve their current investing approach. 

During the session, panelists explained that looking at their IPS and reframing it for sustainable investing is important for a fulsome philanthropic approach. When the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough began revising their IPS, they grounded their statement in their values and guiding principles, which centre on providing sustainable support to their community. Some of these values included Trust, Inclusivity, Collaboration, and Vitality. 

“As an organization determined to support our community in a way that imagines an equitable and sustainable future, it was important for us to create an IPS that aligned with this vision.  We continue to learn as we implement the revised IPS, and we are grateful for the ongoing support of Jarislowsky Fraser. We hope our RECONNECT session conveyed that CFs of all sizes can take steps to incorporate more of their mission into their investing framework.”

Jennifer DeBues, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough

Jarislowsky Fraser and the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough ensured participants left with ideas and inspiration for aligning their own investments and IPS with their values. A few examples were biodiversity in the environmental sphere, diversity, equity and inclusion as a social factor, and tax fairness for governance. 

Participants could effectively apply these learnings to their foundations knowing that one of their peers, in this case Peterborough, had successfully done so before. They heard some lessons learned as well, for example, DeBues shared tips on how to approach this while working with a board. 

Jarislowsky Fraser’s partnership hasn’t stopped with RECONNECT. The team is excited to work with community foundations from coast to coast for the long term, as they continue their path towards aligning their investments with their values.  

“We were thrilled to kick off our partnership with CFC during the Reconnect 2023 conference! As the Sustainability Partner of CFC, Jarislowsky Fraser is committed to providing education and support on sustainable investing, to help Community Foundations achieve missions-aligned investments.”

Jarislowsky Fraser Team  

Jarislowsky Fraser will be providing a session on Nov. 1 on beginning your climate action journey with a focus on investments. Register for the session here.