University of Massachusetts Foundation, which oversees the Amherst-based university's $770 million endowment, will divest from direct investments in coal companies, said university spokeswoman Pamela Jonah.
The foundation will continue to evaluate additional ways to manage the endowment in a manner that promotes both environmental sustainability and socially responsible investing.
Ms. Jonah did not provide an asset size of direct coal investments, but said they represent a small portion of the foundation's investment portfolio.
The decision to divest is the result of a process that began with the creation of a Socially Responsible Investing Advisory Committee in November 2014 to serve as a forum in which to discuss and review social investment issues such as environmental sustainability. The eight-member committee is made up of faculty, administrators, alumni and students.In March, the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign formally petitioned the foundation to divest. Before making a recommendation to the board, the SRI Advisory Committee met with representatives of the campaign and researched the issue over several months. Based on the committee's recommendation, the foundation board voted to divest from investments in coal.