Ring the bells that can be rung

The Board of the ​Seventh Generation ​Interfaith CRI gathered at my mother house, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, in La Crosse, Wisconsin last month to reflect on both the challenges and opportunities we face and to map a path forward. The day was facilitated by Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA, ​with presentations ​by Frank Sherman, Executive Director of Seventh Generation Interfaith, and Seventh Generation Interfatih Board members Peg Groth ​and ​Mark Peters.

Sister Marlene’s opening reflection on the loss of our founder, Fr. Mike Crosby, O.F.M. Cap. was both moving and a spur to “ring the bells that can still be rung,” as Leonard Cohen urged us in his song Anthem. We spent time in breakout groups discussing the external and internal ​trends impacting our mission and vision. We agreed on a SWOT analysis (strengths, weakness, opportunity and threats), a vision of what success would look like, measurable goals and objectives to get us there, and an understanding of who would be responsible for achieving them. After this discussion, we discerned what would be a possible organizational model and funding strategy to facilitate it.

I found the workshop to be both challenging and energizing. Fr. Mike Crosby left us a 45-year legacy of shareholder engagement. Despite the headwinds of a challenging political environment and the changing demographics of our members, the group came away feeling that this ministry has been a catalyst for change and compelled to continue in Mike’s footsteps to bring good news to the poor and God’s creation. I look forward to working in coalition with other SGI members to ring the bells that can be rung.

Sr. Sue Ernster, F.S.P.A

SGI board plans for the future in strategic renewal workshop

By Sue Ernster, FSPA

On September 21, 2017, ​the Board of the ​Seventh Generation ​Interfaith CRI met in La Crosse, WI to engage in strategic planning for the future as well as acknowledging the changing path of ​the CRI with the death of Fr. Mike Crosby, O.F.M., Cap.

The day’s process was facilitated by Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA, ​with presentations ​by Frank Sherman, Peg Groth, ​and ​Mark Peters. We spent time in groups discussing the external and internal ​trends impacting our vision and mission​ leading to a SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunity and threats) analysis​.​ ​The members ​then ​​shared thoughts on ​objectives and strategies for the next 3-5 years​ and ​some specific actions to facilitate this.

After this discussion, we discerned what would be a possible organizational model which may facilitate our agreed upon mission and vision.

​ I found the workshop to be both challenging and energizing. Fr. Mike Crosby left us a 45 year legacy of shareholder engagement. Despite the headwinds of a challenging political environment and the changing demographics of our members, the group came away feeling that this ministry has been a catalyst for change and we must continue in Mike’s footsteps to bring good news to the poor and God’s creation.

Donations in honor of Fr. Mike Crosby

We have received inquiries about how a person might honor Fr. Mike Crosby, O.F.M., Cap., who passed away on August 5th. ICCR, for example, has encouraged its members to donate to SGI, and we are grateful for the support. They wrote:

Many of you know that Mike was instrumental in helping to recruit Catholic congregations into the ICCR fold and organizing them under regional coalitions for responsbile investment or “CRIs”. Mike himself was the Executive Director of the Midwest CRI also known as the Seventh Generation Interfaith CRI.

Seventh Generation Interfaith CRI is a 501(c)(3) public charity almost entirely based on member dues. If you would like to contribute to its mission in memory of Fr. Crosby, please, make your tax deductible check out to Seventh Generation Interfaith Inc. and send it to the following address:

Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment
1015 N. 9th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Voting your proxies

Frank Sherman, Executive Director (Seventh Generation Interfaith, Inc.)

Shareholders have partial ownership of the companies they hold in their portfolios. They rely on a Board of Directors to act on their (as well as other stakeholder’s) behalf to oversee the management of the company. Shareholders are given the opportunity, typically annually, to voice their opinions by electing the Board Directors and voting on various proposals included in the company’s proxy statement. For responsible investors, this is more than an opportunity – it’s a responsibility.

Asset owners, asset managers, hedge funds, and asset service providers typically rely on proxy service companies to recommend how to vote on company proxies based on their research and guidelines. The two largest proxy service companies are Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) and Glass, Lewis & Company (GL). Ceres ​recently published guidelines that indicate how these proxy service firms will typically issue their recommendations on various ​environmental, social and governance (​ESG​)​ resolutions​. Shareholders ​that propose resolutions to companies ​can influence the proxy service company recommendations by meeting with their analysts to explain / support ​their proposal.

Typically​,​ asset manager​s​ ​(e.g. Merrill Lynch, Fidelity, CBIS, etc.) ​will ​vote your proxies for you based on their proxy service firm’s recommendations unless you give them specific instructions to do something different (which they may or may not follow). You have an option to ​tell them that you want to ​vote your own proxies.

On the other hand, if you ​own mutual funds or ​exchange traded funds (​ETF’s​) rather than individual equities​, you forfeit your right to vote ​company​ proxies to the fund management company​ who often vote with management’s recommendations​​. You also lose the right to ​fil​e shareholder resolutions​.​ A responsible investor will consider the social and environmental profile of the ​mutual ​fund​ or ETF, as well as the fund management company​ which will be voting your proxies. Some of the better ones are ICCR members! In any event, investing in mutual funds or ETF’s is an impediment to direct corporate engagement. You may want to dedicate a portion of your portfolio for holding individual equities to facilitate this strategy.

As socially responsible investors, SGI members understand that their investment portfolio is a catalyst for change. We should ensure we use all the tools available to us to make that change.​

2018 Filing Deadlines

Here are links to documents with the 2018 Corporate Resolution Filing Deadlines (XLSX) (PDF).

Please, remember that, by the close of business on or before the company’s filing date, mail or overnight to the Corporate Secretary:

    • Your cover letter
    • The resolution
    • Verification of your stock ownership

Ideally, send the letter via FedEx, UPS or other sign upon-receipt delivery, so that there is a record of who at the company signed to receive your letter. You should retain this receipt in the rare case the company argues your letter did not arrive by the deadline. For more information, visit ICCR’s helpful resource: “How to File a Resolution.”

“Well done, good and faithful servant”

With sadness, we share the news that Fr. Mike Crosby, O.F.M., Cap. has died. In December of 2016, a CT scan and subsequent testing resulted in a diagnosis of cancer of the esophagus. In April, just after Easter, Fr. Mike underwent surgery after a course of radiation treatment and chemotherapy. While the initial prognosis looked positive, another CT scan in June revealed that the cancer had returned with force, and Fr. Mike entered hospice care in Detroit early that month.

Michael Crosby died on 5 August 2017 at the age of 77, after suffering with cancer.

Michael Crosby was born on 16 February 1940, the son of Hugh and Blanche Crosby of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He was invested in the Capuchin Order on 31 August 1959, perpetually professed his vows on 1 September 1963, and was ordained on 6 October 1966.

A writer and speaker, Michael was also the executive director of the Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment, which focuses on social ministry and activism through investment. Michael did pastoral ministry at St. Elizabeth Parish (now St. Martin de Porres Parish) in Milwaukee from 1968-1973. From 1973 until his death, Michael ministered in the area of corporate responsibility. Additionally, he was a collaborator for the canonization cause of Capuchin friar Solanus Casey.

Michael is survived by his brother Daniel (also a Capuchin friar), as well as his many Capuchin brothers with whom he lived, prayed and ministered during the past 58 years.

Visitation:
Thurs., Aug 10: St. Bonaventure Monastery, Detroit, 5-8 pm,
with service at 7 pm.

Friday, Aug 11: St. Francis Parish, Milwaukee, 5-8 pm, with service at 7 pm

Liturgy of Christian Burial:
Sat., Aug 12, St. Lawrence Seminary, Mt. Calvary WI; 10:30 am, with viewing beforehand.

Burial in Capuchin cemetery, Mt. Calvary WI

Fr. Mike’s reflections, and those of his brother Fr. Dan, are found on a Caring Bridge site.

The truth about socially responsible investing

Frank Sherman, Executive Director of Seventh Generation Interfaith

CNBC reviewed years of Morningstar data on the performance of socially responsible funds versus traditional funds and benchmarks and found that there is no significant performance drag. Similar research done in 2015 using meta-analysis covering 85 studies reached a similar conclusion: ESG funds result in neither a big cost, or financial benefit, to investors. However, they found that funds designed to exclude certain “sin” stocks or sectors, such as tobacco, alcohol or guns — don’t tend to measure up. “The ESG performance of companies appears to be something that can be used to generate value in a portfolio; traditional exclusion can be a drag,” said Jon Hale, head of sustainability research at Morningstar.

Todd Rosenbluth, director of mutual fund and ETF research at CFRA, commented that  “getting comparable performance and feeling better about socially responsible investments is a win for investors.” This confirms the view that you can do good while doing well financially.

You can find tools and research on ESG funds on our Resource webpage.