The Episcopal Church made history in 1971 when the church filed the first shareholder resolution by a religious organization. The company was General Motors, and the resolution called on the company to withdraw its business in South Africa. It was both church history and business history.
Religious organizations had publicly spoken out against South Africa's repressive system of white supremacy before, but this was the first time that a religious organization had utilized the power of its stock portfolio to raise an issue for a vote by investors. While it was a front page New York Times story, shareholder support was unenthusiastic, coming in at around 3 percent voting support. But in that moment, a new tool was created to present social and environmental issues to a company's board and top management.