Dear Congressman Cleaver and Congressman Kennedy:
I write to thank you for your July 10 letter regarding diversity among asset managers of university endowments. Harvard improves with each action we take in support of a more diverse and inclusive environment. They not only help individual members of our community realize their full potential in teaching, learning, and research, but also remove systemic hurdles that too many have had to surmount for far too long. Our endowment must operate with those same aims in mind. Like you, I believe that affirmative steps toward expanding opportunity for women- and minority-owned firms upholds the ideal of equal opportunity and can play a significant role in closing persistent wealth gaps.
As an ex officio member of the board of directors of Harvard Management Company (HMC), which oversees investment of the University’s endowment, I can attest to the thoughtful consideration this issue has received in recent years, and I have taken the liberty of enclosing a response from my colleagues that addresses your specific questions. At the same time, I recognize the urgency with which institutions across the country are being called upon to address injustice. As chair of the Harvard Corporation, I have communicated to HMC the Corporation’s expectation that it will continue to be attentive and responsive to the need for diversity both within HMC and among its external investment managers.
Throughout my career in higher education, I have championed efforts that promote a more just society. It is my hope that the many initiatives to promote diversity, inclusion, and belonging across Harvard will help see us through to a better future for all.
Lawrence S. Bacow