I am concerned about climate change and continue to call on MIT to divest the endowment from fossil fuel companies. These firms have polluted our political system and our environment, jeopardizing the futures we seek to create for young people. Additionally, there is ample research illustrating that fossil fuel companies may be significantly overvalued and may no longer represent a sound investment.
As a proud alum, I am hereby informing you that I have donated to the Divest Fund (see DivestFund.org). I will continue to contribute there until MIT makes the right choice and stands up against the fossil fuel industry. I understand the portion designated for MIT will be held by the Divest Fund (and invested in a responsible manner) until the end of 2017, when it will be donated to other schools in the fund that have divested if MIT has not divested or implemented a plan for divestment. I have great faith my Alma Mater will have acted in an ethically responsible manner by that time.
My donation to the Divest Fund is meant to help MIT be the very best it can be. Along with scores of individuals, groups, organizations, business-people, faith leaders, and financial analysts, I believe divesting from fossil fuel companies sends a strong message: making the planet inhospitable to human civilization is unacceptable. We need leadership at the federal level, but fossil fuel companies hold too much power. That’s why divestment is so useful - it makes clear that making contributions to fossil fuel companies and doing their dirty work is politically dangerous as it goes against the conscience of our institution. I know we can live out that conscience.
I understand that you have recently announced that MIT will not divest. I therefore regret that I intend to withhold contributions to the MIT Alumni Fund for the foreseeable future. I realize that my modest contributions are small compared to certain large donors. I nevertheless feel I must take a stand on this issue.