Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF), a philanthropic organisation devoted solely to serving the Native American farming and ranching community, has selected Neuberger Berman to serve as investment manager.The NAAF Investment Program conducted a rigorous, multi-step, nation-wide Request for Proposal process. NAAF’s selection criteria focused on responsiveness, socially responsible investment opportunities and a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, including a commitment to Native American employee and client relationships.
Neuberger Berman met these criteria and effectively demonstrated an investment approach directly in alignment with the values of the NAAF’s Investment Program. Neuberger Berman has a long-standing belief that material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are an important driver of long-term investment returns from both an opportunity and a risk-mitigation perspective. Together, the Native American Agriculture Fund and Neuberger Berman will execute the largest and most ambitious philanthropic investment program supporting Native American agriculture in the history of the United States.
Joseph Amato, President and Chief Investment Officer, Equities, Neuberger Berman, says: “We are pleased to be partnering with the Native American Agriculture Fund in support of its mission for the Native American farming and ranching community. We look forward to building an investment program together and supporting NAAF and its constituents’ investment objectives including considering material ESG factors.”
“We have the opportunity to effectuate great, positive change in Indian Country, and Neuberger Berman is the right partner at the right time to help us meet this moment,” says Vincent Logan (Osage Nation), Chief Financial Officer and Chief Investment Officer for the Native American Agriculture Fund. “If we hope to fulfill this promise, it is imperative that we build a deep and robust asset management relationship with a firm that is dedicated to the unique demands of our ambitious mission.”
“Native American Agriculture Fund’s Investment Committee developed a rigorous selection process and Neuberger Berman was the clear choice because of their expertise in these categories,” says Jim Laducer (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa), Chair-Elect of the Native American Agriculture Fund Board of Trustees. “Neuberger Berman has extensive knowledge in ESG investing, which was important for the NAAF Board of Trustees. Neuberger Berman’s values are in line with our own.”
Looking forward, NAAF and Neuberger Berman will work closely as they see to the management of the Fund assets. The portfolio will be managed to suit the NAAF institutional design, with appropriate risk management while allowing for the flexibility and liquidity necessary to support the Fund’s mission.
The Investment Manager mandate was awarded to Neuberger Berman Trust Company by a unanimous vote of the NAAF Board of Trustees in February 2020.