Today Equity Foundation liquidated all investments in Aflac Incorporated, a national insurance agency, because the company repeatedly refused Equity Foundation’s shareholder proposal to include domestic partner benefits in Aflac’s employees’ benefit package. Equity Foundation in partnership with Trillium Asset Management, LLC in Boston has formerly had success with shareholder proposals including leading a successful effort to push Lowe’s, a national home improvement retailer, to include the terms “gender identity” in their hiring policies.
The liquidation of stocks is the final result of a year-long attempt to change Aflac. A shareholder resolution was submitted following an unsuccessful discussion with the company and a public petition that was ignored by Aflac executives. Unfortunately, even though the resolution expressed the business rationale as well as the basic fairness and respect conveyed through a tangible commitment to the principle that equal work deserves equal pay, the resolution was not brought to a vote.
Peter Cunningham, Equity Foundation Executive Director said, “In leading this effort, it was our hope that Aflac would embrace same-sex domestic partnership benefits for its employees and foster a more diverse corporate culture. Equity Foundation exists not just as a grant making organization, but to also help change the corporate world—it means that our donors’ dollars help change society in more than one way.”
Equity Foundation’s endowments, donor advised funds, and several scholarship funds are invested with Trillium Asset Management, LLC managing the funds. Equity Foundation believes that its investment policies should reflect the mission and values of the organization and that investment-related activities should be directed at supporting or changing corporate behavior to align with these values. Specifically, corporations are encouraged by the Foundation to adopt policies that promote social justice, equity and fairness for all people.
The mission of Equity Foundation is to build communities that advance the dignity and worth of all people. Equity Foundation promotes philanthropy and positive interaction through college scholarships and by granting funds to organizations that work to eradicate prejudice against gender and sexual minorities and people from other diverse communities.