John Alston (left)
conducts all-community performance of Mozart Requiem 2005. Alston
received an honorary degree 2015 for enriching the College and the
lives of countless black students in Chester, PA with the power and
beauty of music.
Bottom & links
VOTING for STRONGER
CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION with your DONATIONS:
TWO ALTERNATIVES for
Eddy '63, Jerry Nelson '65 2June2015
was the birthplace five years ago of the national divestment movement."
a prestigious liberal arts college, is widely considered a birthplace
of this divestment movement."
New York Times
donations can be diverted in two ways by alumni wishing to signal the
need for stronger action on climate change to a College dragging its
feet and seemingly blind to the leadership in social justice that
everyone expects from us.
Climate Commitment Fund (PCCF) works for a greener campus, and requires
knowledge of the campus "Sustainability Committee" (SusCom), because
SusCom will likely hand out the funds we donate. The PCCF is all
green, non-coercive, and no money enters the endowment (it is put to
work now, instead). Large estate-planning donations are easy to
make through the College's Development Office, 1-800-525-8622.
The Fund for a
Responsible Swarthmore is an escrow account run by the student activist
group Swarthmore Mountain Justice. The escrow account withholds
donations from the endowment unless fossil fuel divestment is
accomplished by May 2017. If the deadline is not met, the College
still gets the money, but it goes to the Eugene Lang Center for Civic
and Social Responsibility for more climate activism. Small PayPal
donations are easy to make on-line.
1. the on-campus activists are Swarthmore Mountain Justice
2. The legal name of the fund is "Fund for a Responsible Swarthmore"
3. Nationbuilder.com holds such funds in escrow for different
colleges and universities, and manages the Web presence of their
Go here to donate: https://giveresponsibly.nationbuilder.com/swarthmore
We look at each
program in turn.
PRESIDENT's CLIMATE COMMITMENT FUND, PCCF
Climate Commitment Fund (PCCF) provides an opportunity for older alumni
jockeying with the allocation of gifts from their estate to make a
policy-specific donation to the College. A PCCF donation counts
towards your Reunion Class totals and leaves the College in full
control of its funds -- no jumping through hoops before release of an
escrowed account, as with the Fund for a Responsible Swarthmore, below.
CLIMATE COMMITMENT FUND, PCCF
practice, the President is expected to delegate management and mission
to the College's "Sustainability Committee" (SusCom). Since PCCF
donations go to no endowment, PCCF donations become operating budget
funds for SusCom.
President's Climate Commitment Fund was established in 2012 by Jonathan
E.B. ["Jeb"] Eddy '63 and Edith Twombly Eddy '64. This
President's discretionary fund is used to support the activities that
move Swarthmore College and its community toward a more environmentally
sustainable future. This includes, but is not limited to, the
reduction or offsetting of carbon or other greenhouse gas emissions;
innovative replacements of less than efficient technologies, systems,
and devices; student summer opportunities; technology to enhance or
expand the reach of educational activities; course development,
workshops or speakers; other special projects to advance student,
faculty, staff and alumni understanding of environmental and/or
sustainability issues and implementation of programs that promote
sustainable lifestyles and practices. The fund is a current or
spend-down fund [not a contributor to an endowment], administered at
the discretion of the President."
As the President
is expected to leave day-to-day running of the President's Climate
Commitment Fund (PCCF) to the Sustainability Committee (SusCom), we
turn next to SusCom.
SWARTHMORE COLLEGE SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE "SusCom"
"The purpose of
the Sustainability Committee (SusCom) of Swarthmore College is to make
recommendations to the President and to the College community regarding
policies to promote environmental sustainability on campus. . . . the
most efficient and responsible use of College resources; ... pertaining
to environmental sustainability."
In the 2014/2015
year, SusCom had 19 members:
Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility
4 Faculty members;
Dept. of Engineering
Professor for Issues of Social Change
5 students or recent
become one income stream among several to SusCom, the Sustainability
The bigger the
pot, the less you can stir up anything with your spoon.
To exert some
policy control over alumni monies that flow through the PCCF
(President's Climate Commitment Fund) to SusCom (the campus
Sustainability Committee), one might stipulate that the Editor of the
Phoenix be entitled to appoint persons (students, professional outside auditor) of his choice once each year to
whom the Administration shall be obligated to provide an accounting of
PCCF-funded projects, or projects to which PCCF funds were contributed.
This year, a
member of the student activist group "Swarthmore Mountain Justice" sits
in as an observer on SusCom. Such an activist committed to expressing
conscience to work for a better society would be a logical choice to
report to the community any worthy achievements -- or missed
opportunities -- of the PCCF. Such a student from the activist
community should be a full member of SusCom. It would advance the
governance and transparency of the PCCF to its donors, and attract more donations. Thus far, the College's Development Office is doing little to give the PCCF visibility, so call 1-800-525-8622 and insist on it.
If you donate to the PCCF, let Swarthmore Mountain Justice know.
In 2015, the alumni liason person is Stephen O'Hanlon,
sohanlonMOUNTAINJUSTICE22@gmail.com, and remove
MountainJustice. When a better way to tally alumni
participation in the PCCF emerges, please let
jerry-vaBOARDOFMANAGERS@speakeasy.net know, and remove the Board of
STUDENT ESCROW FUND FOR CARROT-AND-STICK DONATIONS
The Fund for a
Responsible Swarthmore (the escrow fund, started in March 2014) is
explained here: https://giveresponsibly.nationbuilder.com/swarthmore
That URL (Web
page) defines the terms which the escrow fund asks the College to meet
for release of escrowed monies, and provides a means of donating
(PayPal, which can also draw down credit cards registered with PayPal).
student activist group for divestment on campus is Swarthmore Mountain
Justice (as in "mountain-top removal coal mining"). They
encourage alumni to withhold donations from the endowment, and put the
money into this escrow fund instead. Funds held in in
escrow are released when divestment from fossil fuel industry stocks
occurs, but, as we shall see, all monies return to Swarthmore one way
continues to be no divestment by May 2017, rather than enter the
College endowment, escrowed funds are donated to the Eugene Lang Center for
Civic and Social Responsibility to fund student climate activism with
year-long stipends. This has already happened when 50% of the
funds (a very few thousand dollars at the time) were turned over to the
Lang Center after the Board announced on 2 May 2015 that it would not
budge on divestment -- and thus the first deadline went
unmet. May 2017 is the second and final deadline for divestment.
As mentioned, the escrow
organization in the URL (nationbuilder.com) serves the divestment programs of several
leading universities and seems much respected even if unknown to many
of us. The escrow group is (obviously) a separate organization
from the students' Swarthmore Mountain Justice group, which wants you
to use the escrow program they and other schools have created, but
which has no legal standing as a financial institution. The funds
of each school remain entirely separate, and the fund created by our students is the "Fund for a Responsible Swarthmore".
The 2 May 2015
Board of Managers decision to not begin even a modest plan towards
partial divestment came as a surprise to many after five years of
protest, 32 days of sit-in, 200 divestment actions at US schools (2013;
), 500 campaigns world-wide (2015; http://gofossilfree.org/usa/ ),
petitions and favorable faculty votes . . . all at a small college
looked to by many for its leadership on social justice as an expression
of long-held Quaker values.
My choices? I gave to my Class Scholarship fund. Everyone
knows what a scholarship is, who could mis-spend the money? I
have loyalties to honor, purposes to serve -- I can accept the
College's non-divested investment of that money--others might worry
about living a rigidly pure life. But it's all over for me with
the usual donations. Contributions
we have made every year since graduation will go to the Escrow Fund
now. If there
is an intergenerational wealth transfer, a larger gift to the PCCF
would be easier than the escrow account's PayPal.
Bought off the back of a member of the Class of '49.
resource & document list
Resource 1, Petition: http://swatmj.org/petition/
Resource 2, YOU ARE HERE -- Two Plans for college donations.
Resource 3, document: "We Divest for Social Ostracism and Public Humiliation"
Resource 4, document: "Why We Can Never Divest Again
document "Fossil Fuel Divestment FAQ"
Resource 6, document "Swarthmore Chooses Excellence in the 1800s.