The Rev. Dr. Martha M. Cruz Retires from the Pension Boards

Martha headshot updated

On September 22, 2021, the Pension Boards recognized the Rev. Dr. Martha M. Cruz, who retires after more than 21 years of service as Communications and Church Relations Officer.

Pension Boards’ Board of Trustees, friends, and colleagues took a moment to say farewell to Martha during a retirement celebration held in her honor at the Pension Boards’ New York City office.

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Chaplaincy during COVID

A Reflection by Rev. Dr. Rodney Franklin

Rev. Dr. Rodney Franklin

I serve as a staff chaplain at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama with other chaplains and resident chaplains. I am the on-call chaplain, working 3:00-11:00 p.m., covering the Heart Lung Transplant Intensive Care Unit, Bone Marrow Transplant, and Generalist floors, and responding to any code blue medical emergencies that happen during my shift and to pager requests from patients and staff who need to see a chaplain.

When the hospital started receiving COVID patients, chaplains were not visiting patient rooms but communicating with them by telephone and video calls. An iPad would be rolled into the patient’s room for a call. When we were able to secure more personal protective equipment (PPE), we were allowed to visit patients in their rooms.

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A Winning Season for Shareholder Activism

During the 2021 proxy season, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), of which the Pension Boards is a founding member, filed 293 resolutions with nearly 200 publicly-traded companies on a range of issues.

Portions of this ICCR report, which highlights the recent majority vote of Delta Air Lines shareholders for a proposal to seek information on how Delta’s climate lobbying aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement, were taken from ICCR’s press release and blog, and is used with permission. Please visit www.iccr.org to learn more.

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The Importance of Family, Community, and a Great PBUCC Team

A Reflection by Minoti Dhanaraj

minoti portrait

In one week, I will hit my three-year anniversary at the Pension Boards. Half that time was spent coming into the office five days a week and the other half has been fully remote. The unprecedented hardships that the pandemic has caused in our country and around the world have made me realize how fortunate I am to have a strong support system from my family and the PBUCC team.

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The Pension Boards is the Definition of Collaboration

By Summer Intern Poojan Zalora

Poojan

Prior to applying to the Pension Boards internship, I had no knowledge of the organization. However, throughout the interview process, I quickly realized this was a place I wanted to be. They have been so welcoming and are always wanting to help me in any way possible.

Throughout the internship, I had the opportunity to work on multiple projects and my manager made sure I was exposed to different areas of work, like the Accounting team. It was really good to see how interconnected all the different teams were. The Pension Boards is the definition of collaboration. Everyone knows how important it is to collaborate with one another.

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Growing, Learning, Enhancing My Python Skills

By Summer Intern Krishika Jain

Prishika Web

This summer, I got the opportunity to intern at the Pension Boards-United Church of Christ (PBUCC) as an Information Technology (IT) intern. The one thing that drew me to this internship is how the organization operates at the intersection of faith and finance. I enjoyed working here and gained valuable experience that will be useful in my personal and professional life. I would like to thank the Pension Boards for this incredible experience.

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Investment Measures, Metrics, and Strategies

By Summer Intern Madeleine Lessard

Madeleine Lessard Web

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Pension Boards’ Investments team. It was truly an amazing experience, and I was able to learn so much about the organization and what it takes to be successful in investments.

The main project I was assigned to was helping to develop metrics that showed the impact of our new best-in-class Sustainable Balanced Fund on various environmental, social, and governance factors. I did so by analyzing our external investment managers and identifying their key portfolio exposures to different sustainability risks.

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Reflections on the Challenges, Opportunities, and Learnings of the Past Year

An interview with UCBMA Director, the Rev. Elena Larssen

Elena LarsonThe Rev. Elena Larssen became the new Minister for Volunteer Engagement for the United Church of Christ in May 2021, following eight years of service as Senior Minister of First Congregational Church of Long Beach, California. She also serves Vice President of the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA).

How would you describe your role at the UCMBA?

I have served as a UCBMA director since 2010 and was asked to join the board at the time of the formation of Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI). I’ve been engaged in strategic planning, the capital campaign, extensive leadership development and program evaluation, and have served on the NGLI Steering and Selection Committee. One of the most important projects is being simply true to my place in the church, as one of the relatively small demographic population of clergy in their 40s.

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From the Classroom to the Real World

By Summer Intern Rachel Jacobs

Rachel Jacobs

After a hard and long 2020, the importance of digital marketing and communications has grown exponentially, such as the use of social media to promote and market products like never before. Knowing this, I wanted to gain real-world experience outside the classroom in creating marketing materials, so I applied to the Pension Boards’ Summer Internship Program as a Communications and Marketing Intern with the hopes of doing just that. When I was offered the internship opportunity, I was ecstatic at the idea of expanding my skills and helping such a great organization come up with successful marketing campaigns.

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Adapting to the Modern Financial Environment

By Summer Intern Marco Lima

Marco Lima

A top priority at the Pension Boards since I joined the team as a Finance Intern has been to remain competitive in the industry. I am fortunate to have been able to contribute toward this goal that is helping to orient the Pension Boards toward a successful future.

I have been tasked with two primary objectives: first, to help create the marketing agenda for our newer investment products; and second, to integrate the firm’s investment accounting to a more efficient Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program.

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