The Nathan Cummings Foundation is committed to the creation of a socially and economically just society. The Foundation's core programs -- Arts and Culture, Environment, Health, Jewish Life and Culture, and Interprogram Initiatives for Social and Economic Justice -- are underpinned by themes such as a concern for the poor and underserved and the empowerment of communities in need. Grants to further the objectives of core program areas are funded by the Foundation's endowment.
With an endowment of approximately $500 million, the Foundation is an institutional investor with a long-term perspective. As such, the Foundation is concerned that corporations that do not consider the long-term implications of their environmental and social practices may maximize short-term profitability but fail to develop sustainable, long-term business models. Such a failure impacts not only long-term shareholder value but also the quality of our society.
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 new 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.