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Girl Scouts of North East Ohio Investment Policy Now Includes Gender Diversity Requirements

MACEDONIA, OH – Girl Scouts of North East Ohio’s (GSNEO) board of directors is making a bold move as the first Girl Scout council in the nation to modify its Investment Policy Statement with the goal to increase gender diversity within board of directors throughout the Northeast Ohio region.

GSNEO Chief Executive Officer Jane Christyson said the board of directors, led by Board Chair Laura Schultz of Thompson Hine, LLP and Treasurer Matt Inks of KeyBank, are embracing and acting upon its fiduciary responsibility in a way that furthers the Girl Scout mission and core values of diversity and equality.

“We want to put our money where our mission is, and we are doing that with a couple of modifications,” Christyson said.  “Our finance and investment committee views this as a first step, hoping to increase the share and ultimately increase the percentage of women on boards.”

GSNEO’s impact Investing Policy Change consists of two modifications:

1.     Carve out 5% of investment assets as Impact-Equities with the objective to include in this category only companies whose board of directors include at least 25% women

2.     Establish a proxy voting guideline for GSNEO investment managers requiring them to support proposals to report on and increase gender diversity within board of directors and senior management

GSNEO Chief Financial Officer John Graves said that by taking these concrete steps to promote women’s leadership, the council is paving the way as a leader for promoting the future of females in governance corporations.  By promoting companies with women leaders and board members, GSNEO is sending a positive message that supports these companies.

“We want to make our impact in governance in gender equality, in promoting women’s leadership, and that’s the impact we’re striving for,” Graves said.  “Hopefully, others who are interested in this type of socially responsible investing can make similar changes to their investment policies, too.” 

This is a steppingstone for GSNEO, and the chance to spur interest, so others can promote and follow, creating a ripple effect.  GSNEO is making an impact that they believe will not only improve gender diversity, but will improve corporate performance because this greater diversity will improve corporate decision making.