Leichtag's challenge investment seeks to grow JLens' Jewish Advocacy Strategy above $100 million
The Leichtag Foundation has awarded a $10 million challenge impact investment to JLens' Jewish Advocacy Strategy, a Jewish values-aligned investment offering that advocates with companies on Jewish communal concerns - religious tolerance and coexistence, social and environmental issues, and support for Israel. Jewish institutions have invested nearly $50 million in the strategy to date.
Values-based investing, also known as impact investing or socially responsible investing, pursues financial return on capital while also generating a positive impact. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, the field represents over $22 trillion, or 26% of all professionally managed assets.
The Encinitas, California based Leichtag Foundation aims to bring the full balance of its assets 100% in line with the foundation's values and strategic mission within the next seven years.
Charlene Seidle, Leichtag's executive vice-president, noted, "Aside from the tremendous impact generated by JLens' advocacy with public companies, the strategy fits well financially with our overall investment policy and was reviewed by our investment consultants. We want to encourage other Jewish institutions to consider values-based investing, and JLens' US Equity ESG market-rate investment is a great entry point."
"JLens represents the Jewish community in the rapidly growing and increasingly influential values-based investing and corporate social responsibility movements," explained Julie Hammerman, JLens' executive director. "Leichtag's challenge investment comes at the perfect time to strengthen JLens voice in an area where Jewish leadership is essential."
JLens conducts shareholder advocacy with the approximately 300 companies held in the strategy to pursue positive changes on a range of concerns including the opioid crisis, human trafficking, clean energy, animal welfare, and religious tolerance. Additionally, JLens provides factual information on Israel to counter the false narrative presented to companies and investors by the BDS campaign.
According to Rabbi Jacob Siegel, JLens' Director of Engagement, "The values-based investing field is an exciting area to explore Jewish teachings in a modern context."