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June 30, 2016

U. of Maryland Foundation Joins Fossil-Fuel Divestment Push

The University of Maryland affiliate that oversees the system’s $1 billion endowment will withdraw all direct investments in coal, oil, and natural gas, The Baltimore Sun reports. The University System of Maryland Foundation said Tuesday that it will sign on to a United Nations pledge to pursue socially aware investments and designate a staff person to identify opportunities in renewable energy.

The move by the Maryland foundation, which helps raise money to fund scholarships, endowed professorships, and other programs, comes a month after the University of Massachusetts reportedly became the first major public university system to eschew all investment in fossil-fuel companies.

About 7 percent, of the Maryland endowment is invested in the energy sector, including both fossil-fuel and clean-energy sources. Student activists on multiple Maryland campuses have campaigned since 2013 for fossil-fuel divestment, joining a larger national movement to get higher-education money out of the industry.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article on the debate over foundation investments in fossil fuels.