January 2000

Other Catholic Health Care Systems Follow Catholic Health Initiatives’ Proxy Voting Guidelines

A group of Catholic health care systems will be using the proxy voting guidelines established by Catholic Health Initiatives’ Social Responsibility Investment Policy as part of a new agreement with Proxy Monitor, the proxy voting service used by Catholic Health Initiatives. "That fact that Catholic Health Initiatives’ proxy voting guidelines will be used collectively by other Catholic health systems is a nice compliment," said Jennifer Neppel, director of cash and investments for Catholic Health Initiatives.

Catholic Health Initiatives’ Social Responsibility Investment Policy, which was approved by the Board of Stewardship Trustees, puts the organization’s financial resources to use in a way that is consistent with its vision, mission, values and core strategies. "The proxy voting guidelines provide direction so that Catholic Health Initiatives can use its shareholder status to emphasize human dignity, social justice and the promotion of healthier communities," said Colleen Scanlon, senior vice president of advocacy for Catholic Health Initiatives. "We believe that it is incumbent upon us to vote proxies on all issues that relate to our commitment to advocate for systemic changes to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities, particularly for persons who are underserved, alienated and poor." These issues include management and social issues such as diversity, corporate governance, the environment, militarism and tobacco.

The voting of proxies is managed for Catholic Health Initiatives by Proxy Monitor of Chicago, Ill. The firm conducts research and analysis of upcoming proxy votes, provides voting recommendations, ensures votes are cast on a timely basis and tracks results. "Catholic Health Initiatives has a large investment portfolio, and Proxy Monitor’s services help us ensure that we have a clear and consistent link between the organization’s values and its status as a shareholder," said Neppel.

The group of systems that will use Catholic Health Initiatives’ guidelines as a basis for voting through Proxy Monitor includes Ascension Health, Catholic Health East, Carondelet, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and Sisters of Mercy Health System. "We expect that the new agreement will enable Proxy Monitor to provide all of these systems and Catholic Health Initiatives with more cost-efficient service," said Neppel.

Proxy Monitor also intends to develop new resources for Catholic health care, such as conferences at which system representatives can meet to discuss socially responsible investing issues.