Community and Impact

Creating impact—real impact—for the communities in which we live and work has been an essential part of Brown Advisory’s DNA since our beginnings. As we strive to make a positive and material difference for all of our stakeholders, we are cognizant of our responsibilities to our communities—we believe we have an obligation to contribute to and enhance the lives of others through financial, intellectual and hands-on partnership.

Our Purpose:

We exist to raise the future for and with our clients, our colleagues, and our communities.

We think about making an impact broadly—we use the term “raise the future” to refer to how we view our purpose for our clients, colleagues and communities. As investors, we invest in sustainable companies and issuers. As advisors, we help clients articulate what matters most to them in order to best incorporate philanthropy, community engagement, sustainability and impact-driven investments within their portfolios. As a business, we partner with for-profit and nonprofit purpose-driven organizations. As a firm, we contribute our charitable dollars strategically and offset our emissions to achieve carbon neutrality. As a collection of colleagues, we donate time—and funds—to support the communities that support us and our families.

There are a lot of needs, and we certainly do not have all the answers. However, we believe that through innovation, collaboration and humility, we can raise the future—for all of us—together.

Giving

In 2021, Brown Advisory contributed more than $1.75 million to a range of nonprofits and charities across the communities where we live and work.
In addition to supporting organizations that are important to our clients and colleagues, we focus our giving in three strategic areas:

The Bard Prison Initiative provides a rigorous liberal arts education to inmates—along with career development and specialized support—to disrupt the cycle of poverty, mass incarceration and systemic inequities.

We support nonprofit organizations that address social injustice and racial inequity. These organizations provide support and services to minorities and economically disadvantaged groups, work to dismantle systemic barriers to racial equity, and build deliberate systems to achieve and sustain racial equity.

Nonprofit partner examples: Bard Prison Initiative, Roca, Ron Brown Scholar Program, B-360, 10,000 Black Interns

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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with one of the largest and most diverse botanical collections in the world, is dedicated to protecting biodiversity, motivating environmental advocacy, inspiring the next generation of scientists, and creating a world where nature is valued and managed sustainably.

The nonprofits with which we partner strive to solve for the complex environmental challenges that threaten our world, such as climate change, water scarcity and quality, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, and environmental justice. We believe that these issues are interconnected with their social and systemic counterparts, and that addressing them requires a holistic approach to balance urgency with long-term solutions.

Nonprofit partner examples: Nature Sacred, Conservation Fund, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Invest in Girls is dedicated to ushering in the first generation of financially literate girls and increasing the number of women working in finance.

We partner with organizations dedicated to helping and empowering women and girls, especially those in underrepresented groups. Their work focuses on inclusion, education, health, and social services and includes closing the gender gap in business and government, mentoring, furthering and supporting women’s rights, preventing abuse, and providing direct services to people in need.

Nonprofit partner examples: Invest in Girls, Him For Her, International Women's Forum, UK Treasury's Women in Finance Charter, Girls Are INvestors (GAIN)

Climate

We are committed to addressing climate change from both an investment and operational lens.

 

With respect to operational emissions, our focus remains first on reducing and monitoring emissions, and then on contributing funds to climate-positive projects around the world to compensate for unavoidable emissions.

Our operational carbon emissions in 2021 were approximately 3,500 metric tons, with the bulk of our impact stemming from a mix of Scope 1 and 2 emissions (heating and powering our physical office spaces) and Scope 3 emissions (emissions from air travel). Our corporate real estate team is supporting multiyear reduction efforts for Scope 1 emissions with a requirement for new buildings where we procure office space to meet the highest levels of LEED and BREEAM certifications. Our development of office spaces is also aligned with these standards.

Each year, we “offset” our emissions through a combination of renewable energy certificates and contributions to climate-positive projects.

OUR INVESTMENTS IN CLIMATE-POSITIVE PROJECTS INCLUDE:
  • The Giving Trees

    The Giving Trees plants trees in Kenya and Uganda to help small communities create a nature-based carbon removal system that helps train leaders, supports women’s smallholder farms and pulls families out of poverty. The project is verified by Verra and the Cool Effect Foundation, our purchasing partner.
    Learn more

     

  • Cooking with Gas

    Cooking with Gas builds biogas digestors for families in China that capture methane emissions from waste and convert them to renewable energy. It is verified by Gold Standard CDM and the Cool Effect Foundation.
    Learn more

     

Our operational carbon footprint is important to us, but we believe that we can have a far greater impact on climate change through our investments: by working with clients to implement sustainable investment strategies, monitoring and managing the climate risk within the portfolios we manage, and engaging with our portfolio holdings and their stakeholders.

 

We think that every business should be clear about the direct and indirect climate impacts of their activities. Nearly all of our firm’s impact on the global climate stems from our investments, not our operations. In 2021, our firm’s listed equity holdings—totaling $101.1 billion as of December 31, 2021—had a carbon footprint approximately 500 times greater than the footprint of our operational operations.

 

We are tackling this opportunity for impact in multiple ways:

We strive to create impact through our sustainable investing strategies. Their philosophies and processes have consistently led to portfolios with substantially lower carbon intensity (a measure of a portfolio’s carbon emissions, scaled by its proportional ownership of the underlying holdings) than their benchmarks. Perhaps more importantly, many of our sustainable strategies seek to invest in companies that are trying to solve climate challenges for the rest of the world.
 

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Our ESG research team had full engagements with 148 different companies, bond issuers and other stakeholders in 2021. Ninety-one of those had to do with asking the entities, either on our own or as part of coalitions, such as the Science-Based Target Initiative and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, to make additional progress on their emissions reduction strategies.
 

Brown Advisory has committed to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAMi). NZAMi supports a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5° C. Our decision to participate was the result of several months’ evaluation of the initiative’s goals as well as its alignment with our sustainable investment philosophy. Further, and most importantly for our clients, NZAMi respects that we, as the signatory, are not an asset owner. Exactly if, how, when and where our commitment is reflected in portfolios will be the result of conversations and support from clients—the asset owners—themselves.
 

 
 

All of this work has one common thread running through it: our belief that sustainable investing is smart investing and that ESG information helps us make better investment decisions.


Read our recent sustainable investing thought leadership


 

Community Investment

At Brown Advisory, we catalyze innovation in mission-driven businesses and initiatives that are designed to materially enhance opportunities in our communities. These strategic investments take the form of capital, resources, and collaboration with change-agents who promote opportunity, equity, and inclusion in the ecosystems in which we work. Examples of these investments include:

UpSurge

UpSurge is building an engine to propel Baltimore into the top tier of U.S. innovation cities, while striving to be the country’s first “Equitech City.” UpSurge works with founders to launch, support, and grow high-impact startups, and develops strategies to attract new companies, talent, and capital.
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DivInc

DivInc’s mission is to generate social and economic equity through entrepreneurship by equipping underrepresented founders with access to the critical resources they need to build investable companies. Based in Austin, TX with a second location in Houston, DivInc offers a 12-week accelerator for early-stage startups and builds partnerships with public and private institutions to drive systemic change.
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B.Innovative

B.Innovative is our collaborative workspace program for purpose-driven startups and investors that seeks to catalyze entrepreneurial activity and thought leadership across underserved stakeholders. Beginning in Baltimore and now launching in Austin, B.Innovative embodies our dedication to provide physical and human capital resources to change-makers, and to help unlock new ways to create value and results for people and organizations that are working to raise the future.
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Colleague Engagement


Brown Advisory is distinctive in many ways. Our ownership structure—where every full-time colleague is an equity owner—creates a remarkably entrepreneurial, accountable culture. This accountability serves our clients and our broader communities. We intentionally recruit colleagues who share our values around making an impact. In fact, one of our criteria for promotion to Principal and Partner is the energy and leadership that colleagues demonstrate in their communities. At last count, Brown Advisory colleagues served over 400 nonprofits and charities in the US and UK.

To learn more about our work in the community, please contact us

Colleague Engagement

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“We have a responsibility to make a difference in this footprint that we occupy.
We have an obligation to both speak up and show up in our communities—with energy, skills, and financial resources.”

 
MIKE HANKIN
CEO, Brown Advisory

 

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Brown Advisory should be an environment that mirrors the fabric of the communities in which we work and live—one that supports colleagues in their effort to contribute at the highest level and reach their potential. We know that this will be a continuous journey—success is a progression, not a point in time. We will always be asking ourselves, “What's next?”
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Sustainable Investing at Brown Advisory

It’s a potential path to investment performance, a way to reflect your values, an opportunity to make an impact on the world. We aim to deliver sustainable and mission-aligned investment solutions to our clients built on first-rate performance, thoughtful advice and the highest level of service.
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