The California Endowment announced this week that it will end all direct investments in companies that derive significant annual revenue from the operation of private prisons, jails, detention centers and correctional facilities. With assets of over $3.5 billion, this is the largest fund to dump its support for the private prison industry since Columbia University divested earlier this year, and it is the first Foundation to publicly divest from private prisons. What an incredible victory to end the year!
It’s time for the University of California to follow suit. National Prison Divestment Campaign steering committee member Afrikan Black Coalition is pushing the University of California to divest its endowment from private prisons. “It is an ethical embarrassment and a clear disregard for Black and immigrant lives for the UC to be investing tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in private prisons and their financiers. In the age of mass incarceration and Black Lives Matter, the UC should be leading the fight for social justice and ethical investing as opposed to bankrolling the inhuman mass incarceration regime that has gripped America,” says Yoel Haile, Political Director of Afrikan Black Coalition. Stay tuned for ways that you can support the UC Divest campaign.
“Divestment…demands that the institutions of our society that purport to be mission- and value-driven, such as private foundations, cannot stand on the sidelines with their billions in tax exempt assets and assume that their five percent devoted to philanthropic output automatically outweighs and camouflages the impacts of the investment of their 95 percent.” – NonProfit Quarterly, reporting on California Endowment’s announcement and our work in 2014 to pressure the Gates Foundation Trust to dump its GEO investments.
The movement for prison divestment and real reinvestment in the communities most impacted is growing, and we are grateful for your commitment to fight for justice, dignity, and a world free of cages.