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Proxy voting broadens reach

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A new guide to the upcoming proxy season is designed to help foundations further their missions by actively voting their proxy rights.

The guide, “Proxy Season Preview Spring 2006: Foundations Aligning Missions and Investment,” is published by the As You Sow and Jessie Smith Noyes foundations and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

American foundations boast more than $500 billion in combined assets, the guide says, much of which is invested in the stock of publicly traded companies.

By voting as shareholders of those companies, foundations can have an impact on corporate behaviors and policies while also responsibly managing their endowments, the guide says.

The most controversial issues for the new proxy season are global warming, labor standards, political contributions and sexual orientation policies, the guide says.

The “fast-growing” issues for this season include charitable giving, natural resources and toxics.

The issues that received the most votes in the past two years are workers’ rights and sustainability, both of which are expected to be popular this year, along with prescription drugs and anti-bias policies for sexual orientation.

The guide expects customer privacy to be a new proxy issue this year.

The guide includes a list of companies with proxy votes scheduled and foundations involved in filing certain petitions.

It also provides relevant news, including case studies and campaign and foundation voting policies.

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