The heads of two pension funds have joined a group of investment-related professionals from around the world working to avoid the kind of economic collapse that occurred in the last downturn.

“The hope is the club can be the voice of reason when the world goes crazy like 2000 and 2007. But that’s very difficult to cut from the herd and buck the trend,” said one of the newest members of the 300 Club, Christopher J. Ailman, CIO of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

The 300 Club was established in 2011to “raise awareness of the potential impact of current market thinking and behaviors.”

Two of its pension fund members – David Villa, CIO of the Wisconsin Investment Board ($87 billion in assets) and Ailman – joined in July. A third, Robert Maynard, CIO Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho ($13 billion), became a member last year.

The 300 Club takes its name, according to the group’s website, from “the legendary 300 Spartans who in 480 B.C. held off the vastly numerically superior invading Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae to give sufficient time for the remaining Greek forces to regroup. The story of the 300 has become a symbol of what can be achieved by a small band of high conviction individuals against overwhelming odds.”