The Yale Corporation, known for its lack of transparency and accountability, will convene on campus this weekend for its last meeting of 2023. Ahead of the Trustees’ discussions, The Endowment Justice Coalition calls on the Corporation to disclose the full extent of Yale’s investments in military weapons manufacturing and divest from all companies that profit from war –– including companies profiting from Israel’s war activities in Gaza. 

We invite readers to send a letter to the Yale Corporation demanding disclosure and divestment here. 

University President Peter Salovey recently told the Yale Daily News that Yale is “revisiting” its policy on investments in weapons manufacturers in response to mounting student calls for divestment. However, the Corporation has yet to disclose the extent of Yale’s ties to companies profiting from war. In the absence of transparency from the Corporation, the EJC writes this letter to provide preliminary research and explanatory resources about Yale’s ties weapons manufacturing. 

Through shares in an exchange-traded fund, or ETF, managed by Blackrock, Yale is exposed to Boeing and Lockheed Martin, both of which supply weapons to the Israel Defense Forces as well as the militaries of the United States, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia and other countries around the world. These weapons are used to kill civilians and therefore constitute “grave social injury,” the basis for divestment according to The Ethical Investor — a guide to Yale’s investment strategy. On that same basis, the University previously divested from assault weapons retailers, citing their violent impacts on communities across the United States. 

With the second-largest endowment in the country and a history of leadership in institutional investing, Yale has immense power and responsibility. No matter the dollar amount of Yale’s investments in and exposure to weapons manufacturers, its refusal to take a stance against their activities gives them social license to continue profiting from war. Until it divests, Yale is complicit in the atrocities of war in Gaza and around the world. 

How do we know that Yale is invested in weapons manufacturing? As a large institutional investor, Yale is required to file SEC form 13F to disclose its holdings in publicly traded stocks. According to its most recent quarterly 13F filings, Yale has approximately 6,500 shares in an ETF that is invested in Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and other defense contractors. This proves that Yale is “exposed” to weapons manufacturers, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. 

What is “exposure”? Large institutional investors like Yale can buy shares of companies directly, but they can also buy shares of ETFs. An ETF is a fund that reflects the performance of the whole stock market by owning shares in many different companies. Yale invests its endowment in ETFs so that it can track the market as a whole and profit from its aggregate growth. Yale’s money supports all the companies that its ETFs are invested in, and Yale’s investments in those ETFs help grow its endowment. This is what we mean when we say Yale is “exposed” to weapons manufacturers; it isn’t directly invested in companies like Lockheed Martin — at least not publicly — but it’s exposed to them through its ETF holdings. 

Could Yale really avoid being “exposed” to these companies? Yes! Yale could choose to invest in ETFs that exclude harmful industries like weapons manufacturing. Many of these funds also exclude fossil fuels, the prison industrial complex and more. Examples of such funds can be found at There is precedent for limiting exposure: some peer institutions, such as Princeton, have committed to limiting their “exposure” to fossil fuels. 

Is this exposure the only way Yale is tied to weapons manufacturing? Likely not, but we don’t know for sure. Out of an endowment totaling over $40 billion, less than $130 million — or less than 1 percent — of Yale’s money is publicly traceable through 13F filings. Yale has over 100 “shell companies” that invest money from Yale’s endowment but are not bound by the same federal reporting laws that require Yale to file form 13F. Yale’s ownership of these companies ranges from 55 percent to 99.8 percent according to its most recent 990 form (which Yale is required to file as a non-profit institution). These shell companies’ investments are managed by external fund managers and their investments are less easily traceable. Without a formal policy on investments in weapons manufacturers, or transparency mechanisms from the Board of Trustees, we have no way of knowing the full extent of Yale’s shell company investments in military weapons manufacturers.

Want to know more? Join the EJC! Find us on instagram at @yaleejc or email the authors. We will continue to do research, including into the holdings of Yale’s shell companies, in the coming months. We believe that Yale’s endowment is an inherently political force, and, as a tax-exempt non-profit, trustee members are legally bound to the duty of care. 

We demand Yale divest from all exploitative and extractive industries, including war machinery, fossil fuels, and more. 

MOLLY WEINER is a junior in Berkeley College and can be reached at

LUMISA BISTA is a junior in Grace Hopper College and can be reached at