In addition to grantmaking, the Nathan Cummings Foundation seeks to use the assets in its endowment to promote progress on both climate change and inequality. With an endowment of approximately $450 million, NCF is an institutional investor with a long-term perspective. As such, the Foundation uses its standing as a shareholder to change corporate behavior in ways that align with its interests as both a funder and an investor.
The Foundation believes that shareholders have a fiduciary responsibility to vote the proxies associated with the stocks they own and take active stands on issues that affect long-term shareholder value. In keeping with this belief, the Foundation established Shareholder Activity Guidelines in April of 2002. The Guidelines call for the Foundation to consider its broad programmatic values, including those of accountability and transparency, when voting its proxies. In addition, the Foundation may encourage dialogues between shareholders, nonprofit groups and corporate managements through program activities. It may also file shareholder resolutions on issues that lie at the intersection of programmatic interests and long-term shareholder value.