GPA Updates Log

Graduation Pledge Alliance - 3rd Update for 2003-2004

As they say, ““Happy Holidays," but don't forget the PLEDGE!!


·     First, if you have not done so, please send us the names of folks on your Pledge committee. If you don't have a committee, PLEASE work hard to get one, as that will definitely improve the quality of the spring effort.


·     Second, by early February, please also send us a timetable for your spring activities. In the last update we noted a small baseline level of activities we hope every school that is involved this year can do. Some schools involved longer are doing more, and we realize some schools are just getting started this fall so may do less.

·     Third, please send your phone number (and be sure to identify your school-we can’t always tell from the email address) so we can contact you during the next two months to hear of your progress, setbacks, needs for assistance, suggestions, etc. Due to time constraints and the dramatic growth of the Pledge, we cannot call everybody but will do our best.

·     Finally, for those so inclined, see news of two social responsibility projects associated with the educational pension giant TIAA-CREF. Pass along to concerned faculty if you are a student. For faculty/administrators, any involvement on your part is appreciated; you can get periodic updates for either or both efforts.


Neil Wollman

National Coordinator, Graduation Pledge Alliance

MC Box 135, Manchester College

North Manchester, IN 46962

(260) 982-5346



(Please pass along this section to faculty if you are a student.)

Do you want your money to help build housing in low-income communities?

To support socially and environmentally responsible smaller companies?


In the 1980s, participants lobbied TIAA-CREF (TC) for five years to set up a socially responsible fund. Now we're pushing for an improved fund with practices that are becoming standard in socially responsible investing (see specifics below). We've been endorsed by many academic and activist groups, faculty/staff unions, and such individuals as Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.

In January, 2002, TC's then-CEO John Biggs stated in a New York Times article that he would support creating a new fund that moves in this direction if there was sufficient financial interest. We've now gathered over $18 million in pledges to transfer current TC retirement assets should the fund materialize! In August 2002, TC finally made some changes in their current socially responsible fund. But much is still lacking.


1. CONTACT TC in support of the proposed fund, noting one or more of these components: (a) community development investment; (b) social venture capital; (c) stock in particularly responsible small companies; and (d) socially responsible shareholder advocacy. Call CEO Herbert Allison at 800-842-2733; 212-490-9000 (ask for him and leave a message with his assistant).

2. VISIT to pledge to the proposed fund. For the campaign details, visit

3. RECEIVE CAMPAIGN UPDATES (every two weeks); contact

4. FORWARD THIS MESSAGE with a short personal endorsement to listserves, organizations, and your colleagues nationally.

Also, see concerning a coalition of national activist groups that seeks for TC to be more socially responsible in its various investments.


Neil Wollman, Senior Fellow, Peace Studies Institute; Professor of Psychology; Manchester College, N. Manchester, IN 46962; 260-982-5346; fax 260-982-5043;


We are writing because you either have had some interest regarding TIAA-CREF(TC) and socially responsible investing or you have a general interest in corporate responsibility. Otherwise, we are sorry. Beyond your particular TC concerns, we write to tell you about a coalition of national advocacy groups that have been working to get TC to be more socially conscious in their investments (areas of concern are sweatshop labor, tobacco, World Bank Bonds, and human rights regarding Burma and Tibet). We also want them to invest in social good (low-income area community development and products enhancing environmental sustainability, e.g.). Beyond better directing of TC's own massive assets ($260 billion), because of its prominence in the investment world, changes TC makes will likely affect other large institutional investors.

The coalition has carried out traditional lobbying (calls and emails) to influence TC as well as protest actions when needed to gain attention. While we can point to a few victories, coalition members feel that we would have far more influence if we could communicate with TC shareholders to provide periodic updates on campaign activities, as well as giving ways that folks like you can become involved at some small or large level. Certainly there will be no more than one report a month.

Please consider signing up for updates (write & put "TC Coalition Update" in the subject line). Also, please do forward this message to individual colleagues and listservs which are concerned with the corporate responsibility movement and which might have participants in the TC pension system. And check out, the coalition listserv.

Thank you,

Neil Wollman, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow and Professor, Manchester College

for "TIAA-CREF: Out of the Bad and into the Good" (Free Burma Coalition, Infact, Press for Change, World Bank Bonds Boycott, US Tibet Committee, Students for a Free Tibet, International Tibet independence Movement, Global sweatshop Coalition, Citizen's Coalition, and Social Choice for Social Change: Campaign for a new TIAA-CREF)