On April 20, the Environmental Action Club sent letters to the Clark College Foundation, asking them to fully divest from fossil fuels.
The Environmental Action Club formed on Clark’s campus last fall with the goal of removing connections to the fossil fuels industry. The club directed their focus to the Clark College Foundation, a non-profit that donates to the college. The letters are an escalated request to the foundation, as a result of the earlier ask from the club to the foundation, urging them to divulge information about their investments regarding fossil fuels.
The letter included three main requests: for the foundation to disclose investment portfolios publicly, to vote to on a halt to any new investments, direct or indirect, to the fossil fuels industry, and to divest from mutual funds directly involved with the industry within the next five years.
“Our ultimate goal is divestment,” co-president Amelia Cole said. “We want them to ultimately divest all their funds from fossil fuels. But we also know that is a big task.”
When asked by the club in fall quarter, the foundation stated that they have no direct links to the fossil fuel industry, only indirect ones through mutual funds.
According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a mutual fund is defined as a company that brings money together from multiple individuals and invests it in different assets.
The foundation wrote a letter to the Indy with further information about their investments which can be found here.
The club sent two letters to the foundation: one from the club, to the new chief executive officer of the foundation, Calen Ouellette, and one from environmental activist and Clark alumnus, Denis Hayes, who addressed his letter to the foundation’s board of trustees.
“We want to bring Vancouver’s deep concern with the Industry to Mr. Ouellette’s attention,” other co-president Katelyn Sedig said. “As someone who prioritizes public relations, Calen knows that his and Clark’s reputation relies on our communities’ pleas of severance from the Fossil Fuel Industry being heard and addressed. We are really just amplifying our communities’ concerns.”
The foundation made a formal reply to The Indy, saying that they only have a small portion of their investments are indirectly tied to mutual funds that may mix with fossil fuels industries.
“We applaud Clark students for their commitment to this important undertaking,” said Ouellette. “We support them in their dedicated task.”
Both Sedig and Cole hope that the letters will bring forth a deeper conversation with the foundation about its investments.
“We want to fight until it’s done,” Cole said.