Current activities

Broadly I am focused on better understanding and action to create necessary changes in individual and organizational behavior in the world of finance moving toward truly sustainable financial markets, with particular focus on the cognitive and cultural barriers to change. How do we better utilize, as opposed to simply distribute, the insights derived from the work of us? Within the foundation and endowment sector how do we change behavior to accept that their fiduciary obligation to the public benefit includes their investments?


My vocation is Grandparenting. In addition to loving and caring for my own grandchildren, Grandparenting involves my active commitment to insure that they, and all children, have options to live a full and satisfying life in an equitable, just, peaceful and environmentally sound world.

My occupation is writing, speaking and advocacy on a wide range of issues to meet the obligations of my vocation.

These include: rebalancing the fiduciary duty of foundations and other institutional investors; recognizing the obligations of being a shareowner in today’s world; economic and environmental justice including community-driven community development; describing the limits of corporate responsibility; the role of philanthropy in democracy; science, higher education and public policy; and issues surrounding the conceptualization and practice of “sustainability” in the investment community and in the world-at-large.

My commitment presently involves me in a number of activities and organizations including: Director of the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets; Chair of the finance committee of the Christopher Reynolds Foundation; the Investor Network on Climate Risk; lead filer on a number of a shareowner resolutions with ExxonMobil, Chevron, JPMChase, Darden and others on climate risks and on political transparency; the Advisory Committees of the Mission Investor Exchange, Inflection Point Capital Management, Ethical Marketplace; Strategic Philanthropy, and the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board: a Fellow of the Governance and Accountability Institute; and work with communities of color in the Southwest and the Pueblos of New Mexico on community led alternatives to the classic models of community development.

In 2000 I retired from the presidency of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundationwhere, in the early 1990s, I developed and guided the effort to harmonize our asset management with our grant making, including some of the first ‘impact investments’ in ‘responsible growth companies, and to fund environmental and economic justice.

My work has been published in Asia, Africa, Oceana, Europe and the Americas, where I have traveled and lectured extensively. My most recent paper with Keith Johnson, The Philanthropic Fiduciary, will be published in 2014.

A native New Yorker, I received my BA and MA in history from Columbia University in the mid-fifties. I live in New York with my wife of 56 years, a social worker. My grandchildren live in Amherst, Massachusetts and London, England. I am a photographer, serious cook, and a student of Australian Aboriginal Art. I am still trying to figure out what retirement means, which is just fine with me.

Stephen Viederman
Fellow of the Institute

Tel. 646.430.8230
Fax. 646.430.8230