Oregon Jewish Federations Lead the Way on Climate Action, Pulling Investments from Fossil Fuels

In a historic move, two Jewish institutions make a strong statement on the urgency to invest in a clean energy future.

For immediate release March 27, 2024
Contact: Mary Babic, Director of Communications, Dayenu ([email protected]); 617 840 8957

Earlier this month, Oregon’s two Jewish Federations each voted to withdraw their investment dollars from the leading drivers of climate change: fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and the Jewish Federation of Lane County are the first Jewish Federations in the country to screen out fossil fuels from their investment portfolios. 

The two Federations have now joined the more than 1600 institutions that have made a similar commitment – representing over $40 trillion in assets. While more than a third of those institutions are faith-based, only a handful come from the American Jewish community. With this move by the Oregon Federations, that is changing.

Both the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and the Jewish Federation of Lane County have robust histories of climate action. Each Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council has advocated for strong state-level climate policy, and the Portland Jewish Community Relations Council has an active climate action subcommittee. 

National context: Fossil-fuel-free investing is a growing and vital mode of climate action; in recent years, the Jewish community has been considering and adopting this strategy as a way to align investments with our values and confront the urgency of the climate crisis. 

In 2022, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action launched All Our Might, a campaign which raises the Jewish community’s moral voice alongside other faith communities to end financial support for fossil fuels. 

  • In December of 2022, Dayenu published a landmark report on Jewish communal investments, highlighting a $3 billion opportunity to move institutions’ investments out of fossil fuels and into clean energy solutions. The report offered a six-step roadmap and resources for Jewish institutions. 
  • Dayenu offered support and encouragement to both Oregon Federations in the lead-up to their decisions, and is in conversation with several institutions about making a similar move in the near future.

Oregon developments: The same week that the two Jewish Federations in Oregon made their decisions, Oregon’s state legislature passed a bill to direct the state’s pension to pull $1 billion invested in coal – a first step toward screening out all fossil fuels in the future. The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland endorsed the bill

And the momentum is growing: California is considering a bill this legislative session that would screen out all fossil fuels from the state’s two largest pensions. Sponsors of the California legislation include Jewish state senators Henry Stern and Scott Wiener.


  • Hank Kaplan, Board Member at the the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said, “In addition to being the main driver of the climate crisis, fossil fuels are a declining industry and have underperformed the rest of the market over the past decade. Screening out fossil fuels aligned with our values and our history of climate action and made plain financial sense.” 
  • Martha MacRitchie, chair of the Jewish Federation of Lane County, said, “Our Federation board unanimously determined this to be a reasonable, financially prudent action in the face of the climate crisis. While we are among the first Federations to screen out fossil fuels, we know that many Federations across the country are concerned about the accelerating impacts of the climate crisis on Jewish life.” 
  • Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder and CEO of Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, said: “The world urgently needs to stop financing fossil fuel expansion and transition to a clean energy economy, in order to combat the climate crisis and ensure our ability to thrive l’dor vador (from generation to generation). Oregon’s two Jewish Federations are leading the way, taking this common-sense approach to aligning their investments with their values and taking meaningful action on climate. They are the first of what we are confident will be many Jewish communal institutions to follow. In the wake of the hottest year on record in human history, now is the time to take action to align our investments with a just, livable and sustainable future.”

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