Press Coverage and NCF-Authored Articles

The Nathan Cummings Foundation


Press Coverage and NCF-Authored Articles

NCF & Hermes EOS Continue Efforts to Engage News Corp. 

In an effort to improve governance at the company, NCF and its partner, Hermes EOS, sent multiple letters to the company asking about plans to respond to overwhelming support from shareholders for the elimination of the company’s dual-class capital structure. 

NCF Presses Wall Street Banks on Pay

The Foundation has submitted proposals asking JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs to report on the risks associated with the firms’ high levels of senior executive compensation.  Watch a video and read more about investor concerns over Wall Street pay in the following article from the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal – Banker Pay Heads to Ballot

Focus of NCF Shareholder Proposals Takes Heat for its Political Spending

This article in the San Antonio Current takes a critical look at Valero’s political spending and notes the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to expanded the company’s disclosure of its political expenditures.

San Antonio Current – Move over Koch Brothers, San Antonio’s Valero Energy is working overtime to stop climate-change legislation and keep the future oily

Joint NCF/ACGI effort results in improved corporate governance at eBay, others

Online auction giant eBay has moved to declassify its board of directors following receipt of a shareholder proposal led by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. The result of a joint effort coordinated by the American Corporate Governance Institute, the eBay success is part of a larger campaign that has prompted more than a dozen corporations to take steps to declassify their boards of directors. The successful campaign has been covered by a number of websites and blogs, including The Motley Fool and RiskMetrics’ blog.

RiskMetrics blog – eBay Moves to Improve Corporate Governance
The Motley Fool – When Companies Do the Right Thing

NCF Shareholder Proposal Keeps the Focus on Pay at Goldman Annual Meeting

For the second year in a row, a shareholder proposal led by the The Nathan Cummings Foundation helped to keep the focus on executive compensation at Goldman Sachs' annual general meeting (AGM). The Foundation's proposal asked the company's Board to review its compensation schemes for senior executives. Specifically, the 2011 proposal asked for an examination of whether senior executive compensation is excessive and an analysis of the way in which fluctuations in revenue impact various groups, including senior executives and shareholders. Given that compensation for Goldman Sachs' named executive officers doubled in a year that saw earnings drop by 38%, revenues decline by 13% and shares prices basically go nowhere, a number of media outlets covered the proposal's presence on the agenda at Goldman's AGM. Links to a number of the articles may be found below.

The Wall Street Journal – At Goldman Meeting, Pay Is Likely to Rule the Day

Bloomberg – Goldman Pay Plan Supported by Fewer Shareholders as Blankfein Pay Doubles

The Guardian – Goldman Sachs faces contentious AGM

Fortune – What to expect at Goldman's annual meeting

The New York Times – Blogging Goldman's Annual Meeting

Faith-Based Institutional Investors join NCF-Led Effort to Press Goldman Sachs on Executive Compensation

At Goldman Sachs, profits declined while CEO compensation nearly doubled for 2010. The Nathan Cummings Foundation, a long-term shareholder of Goldman Sachs, is once again leading a coalition of institutional investors, including several orders of nuns, in an effort to press Goldman Sachs on the appropriateness of the compensation packages it provides to its senior executives. With the press once again focused on executive compensation at financial firms, a number of recent articles have explored the NCF-led effort at Goldman, now in its second year.

The Boston Globe – Hub nuns join call to review firm's pay: Investors query Goldman Sachs on compensation

New York Magazine – Angry nuns are after Lloyd Blankfein Again

The Telegraph – Nuns ask Goldman Sachs bosses whether they're really worth $69.5m

Here's What Happens When Your Shareholders Catch You Spending Money On Politics
By Jeff Cossette, Business Insider
March 10, 2011

Ill-considered political contributions can embroil companies in controversy and damage shareholder value. In an effort to protect the long-term value of their investments from the risks involved in political giving, a growing number of shareholders are pressing companies to increase disclosure and board oversight of all political spending. The Nathan Cummings Foundation's successful bid to press Tesoro Corporation to do just that is examined along with other investor efforts in this piece from Inside Investor Relations' Jeff Cossette.

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Changing Corporate Behavior through Shareholder Activism 
By Lance E. Lindblom, President & CEO  and 
Laura Shaffer Campos, Director of Shareholder Activities 
September 2010 

The Nathan Cummings Foundation is pleased to announce the release of a new white paper, Changing Corporate Behavior through Shareholder Activism, outlining the theories underpinning the Foundation's shareholder activities work and reporting the numerous concrete changes in corporate behavior that the Foundation has helped to promote through its shareholder activism. 

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Good Governance: A Perfect Storm 
By Marcy Murninghan 
July 22, 2010 

This edition of the Murninghan Post covers some of the latest trends in corporate governance, including Say-on-Pay, which featured prominently on proxies during the 2010 proxy season.   A number of Say-on-Pay proposals, including an NCF-led proposal at Chesapeake Energy, received majority support from shareholders this spring, indicating the issue's growing resonance with a broad array of investors. 

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UnitedHealth Investors Pass Chance for Say Over Executive Pay 
By Christopher Weaver in Shots, NPR'S Health Blog 
May 25, 2010 

Investors narrowly passed up a chance for a say-on-pay at UnitedHealth.  NCF's say-on-pay proposal did, however, manage to gain the support of 49.15% of shares voted, indicating that a significant amount of investors support this best-practice governance reform at UnitedHealth. 

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Investor groups take action in wake of Citizens United ruling 
By Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch 
April 16, 2010 

Responsible investors have stepped up efforts to have companies increase their disclosure of political contributions and payments to trade associations in the wake of the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court.  The Nathan Cummings Foundation is the lead-filer of a shareholder resolution calling for increased transparency at Valero Energy Corporation, one of several investor efforts examined in this piece from MarketWatch.

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Another View: We Need a 'Blankfein Amendment' 
By Lance E. Lindblom & Laura Shaffer 
New York Times' Deal Book 
April 14, 2010 

In a recent piece in the New York Times , Lance E. Lindblom, the Nathan Cummings Foundation's President & CEO, and Laura Shaffer, the Foundation's director of shareholder activities, argue that huge paychecks for top corporate executives are out of line with reality, especially at Goldman Sachs, where shareholders had a chance to vote on an NCF-led resolution on compensation levels and pay disparity.

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SEC Issues Ground-Breaking Guidance Requiring Corporate Disclosure of Material Climate Change Risks and Opportunities 
Ceres Press Release 
January 27, 2010 

Leading investors hailed the SEC's landmark decision to issue interpretive guidance clarifying what public companies should disclose to investors regarding climate risks and opportunities.  The Nathan Cummings Foundation and numerous other investors have been requesting such guidance for a number of years in light of the issue's potentially significant implications for their investments. 

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Wall Street's Bonus Baby Steps 
By Colin Barr, Senior Writer, Fortune 
December 30, 2009 

In the wake of last year's near collapse of the financial system, big bonuses for Wall Street executives have drawn the attention of both investors and the press.  A recent Fortune article on explores some of the concerns about Wall Street's “eye-popping paychecks” and outlines why investors like the Nathan Cummings Foundation remain concerned about Wall Street compensation practices despite recent attempts at reform. 

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SEC Says Climate Change Disclosure a Priority 
By Barry B. Burr , Pensions & Investments 
June 16, 2009

In the wake of a letter coordinated by the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and signed by more than 40 institutional investors, including the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the SEC has announced plans to focus on climate change disclosure requirements.  Institutional investors like NCF have long argued that increased disclosure of climate related risk is necessary for improved investment decision making.   

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UnitedHealth CEO's pay dips $10 million 
by Sam Black, Staff Writer, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal 
April 23, 2009 
Executive compensation has been a hot topic recently, especially in light of some of the very generous pay packages awarded at poorly performing companies.   The Nathan Cummings Foundation is the lead filer of a “say on pay” proposal asking UnitedHealth Group to provides shareholders the opportunity to vote on an advisory resolution to ratify the compensation of the company's named executive officers (“NEOs”).   The proposal and resulting vote are non-binding and would not affect any compensation paid or awarded to any NEO, but rather provide a mechanism for shareholders to express feedback on the company's compensation philosophy and pay package. 

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Investors See Doubling of Shareholder Proposals on Health Care Reform, Growing Support from Corporate America in 2009

Shareholder resolutions focusing on climate change achieved breakthrough results in 2008, reflecting growing investor concerns over global warming and its effects on long-term shareholder value.  The Nathan Cummings Foundation was one of a number of institutional investors that together filed more than 50 shareholder resolutions on climate change in 2008.  

The Catholic Review - No Time to Waste: SCHIP vote just one step on road to health reform - Health Care Reform Takes Center Stage for 2009 Proxy Season

Climate resolutions "having big impact"
By Jonathan Birchall in New York 
Published: August 21 2008 03:00 | Last updated: August 21 2008 03:00

Shareholder resolutions focusing on climate change achieved breakthrough results in 2008, reflecting growing investor concerns over global warming and its effects on long-term shareholder value.  The Nathan Cummings Foundation was one of a number of institutional investors that together filed more than 50 shareholder resolutions on climate change in 2008.  

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Centex Moves on Environmental Concerns 
by John Caulfield
Posted on on July 14, 2008

Centex Corporation recently announced plans to implement its Energy Advantage program in all homes it builds throughout the United States beginning on January 1, 2009. The announcement comes in the wake of several years of shareholder filings, led by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, asking the company to disclose information on its approach to energy efficiency and climate change. Centex Energy Advantage homes are estimated to achieve a 10 to 22% efficiency improvement when compared to a standard efficiency house built to the current code. Taken together, the homes will avoid the production of thousands of tons of GHG emissions over their lifetimes.

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Executive Pay Weighs Heavy with Shareholders
By Anne Moore Odell
Published on on June 4, 2008

According to this article by Anne Moore Odell, as most Americans see their paychecks stretched tighter by rising costs, the huge paychecks and special perks given to the people running publicly traded companies are under closer scrutiny than ever by shareholders. This year, more than 90 "say on pay" resolutions were filed by investors including the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Needmor Fund and the City of New York Pension Fund asking that shareholders be given an opportunity to participate in an advisory vote on executive compensation.

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Valero Advocates for US CO2 Policy
By Jessca Resnick-Ault, Dow Jones Newswires
Published on, May 8, 2008

This piece by Dow Jones writer Jessica Resnick-Ault focuses on the evolution of climate change policy at Valero Energy. The article includes a look at a shareholder resolution filed in 2004 by the Nathan Cummings Foundation requesting that Valero form a board committee to evaluate the company's response to climate change. Although the company was initially reluctant to implement the resolution's request, Valero Energy has since formed the requested climate change committee and recently stated that it would like to see the development of a comprehensive national climate change policy.

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Foundations Move Toward Mission Related Investing, One Foundation at a Time
By Anne Moore Odell
Published on, February 15, 2008

In "Foundations Move Toward Mission Related Investing, One Foundation at a Time", Anne Moore Odell looks at how concerns about climate change may push foundations to focus more intently on active ownership strategies and responsible investment. The article credits the Nathan Cummings Foundation with being a leader in this area and explores the Foundation's approach to responsible investment. 

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Foundations Align Investments with their Charitable Goals
By Charles Piller, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Published in the Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2007

This article on the growth of responsible investment practices in the foundation world mentions the Nathan Cummings Foundation as one of a small number of foundations that have long been focused on responsible investment and active ownership. NCF is also credited, along with several others, with helping to move more foundations towards better aligning their investment practices with their charitable goals.

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The Power of Proxies and Shareholder Resolutions
By Andrew Tuch, co-editor, Harvard Law School Corporate Governance Blog Posted on, Friday October 19, 2007


NCF's approach to active ownership was featured in the Harvard Law School Corporate Governance blog following a presentation to Harvard Law School students by Lance E. Lindblom, President & CEO of the Nathan Cummings Foundation.


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NCF Weighs In on SEC Proxy Access Proposals
Recent SEC proposals focusing on proxy access and shareholder resolutions have generated plenty of controversy, with the SEC receiving thousands of comments from concerned investors.

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NCF, Others Call on SEC to Force Corporate Climate Disclosure
The Nathan Cummings Foundation and a coalition comprised of 21 other groups including Ceres, CalPERS and a number of state treasurers have petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to require publicly traded companies to assess and disclose financial risks relating to climate change.

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Foundations Test Proxy Power 
By Sally Beatty
Published in the Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2007

The Wall Street Journal covers the Nathan Cummings Foundation's shareholder work and explores the growing number of foundations looking to reinforce their philanthropic mission through their status as institutional investors.

This article is available to Wall Street Journal subscribers and may be accessed online using the link below.

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Gates Foundation Faces Multibillion-Dollar Dilemma
By Kristi Heim, Seattle Times Business Reporter
Published in the Seattle Times, January 14, 2007

Follow-up coverage of the controversy surrounding the Gates Foundation's investments.

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Gates Foundation to Reassess Investments
By Charles Piller, Times Staff Writer
Published in the Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2007

This follow-up piece to the investigative series in the LA Times cites NCF as a leader in the consideration of social investment issues and contains insightful commentary on the issue by NCF President and CEO Lance E. Lindblom.

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Money Clashes with Mission
By Charles Piller, Times Staff Writer
Published in the Los Angeles Times, January 8, 2007

The second article in a two-part series investigating the contradictions between the Gates Foundation's investments and its grant making. The article includes references to NCF and a number of its grantees.

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Investors Persuade Big-Box Retailers to Disclose Energy and Climate Performance
Published by, March 6, 2006

In response to shareholder requests, two leading big-box retailers and the nation's largest shopping mall company have agreed to significantly expand reporting and disclosure on energy efficiency performance, with the two big-box retailers also agreeing to discuss greenhouse gas emissions.

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Talk of Integrity Amid Scrutiny
By Ian Wilhelm
Published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 28, 2005
The Nathan Cummings Foundation proposes shareholder resolutions, in which a stockholder can request information or changes at a company. While the resolutions are nonbinding, meaning the company does not have to respond to them, they usually influence corporate decisions, said Caroline L. Williams, CFO.

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The Price of Politics
By Lance E. Lindblom, President & Chief Executive Officer, The Nathan Cummings Foundation
Published in Pharmaceutical Executive, October 2004
The Foundation's President urges the pharmaceutical industry to adopt a business model less dependent on political influence.

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Foundation President participates in SEC Roundtable Discussion, March 10, 2004
The Securities Exchange Commission's proxy access proposal is one of the most important and hotly contested proposals in years. As a panelist at the SEC's roundtable discussion on shareholder director nominations, the Foundation's President stressed the importance of creating incentives for more effective corporate governance.

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Who's Minding the Store?
By Caroline Williams, Chief Financial and Investment Officer, The Nathan Cummings Foundation
Published in Foundation News & Commentary, Mar/Apr 2003 Vol. 44, No 2

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We're Owners, Not Traders
By Lance E. Lindblom, President & Chief Executive Officer, The Nathan Cummings Foundation
Published in Foundation News & Commentary, Sept./Oct. Vol. 43, No. 5

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