Whether purchasing clothes, choosing where to buy groceries, partnering with a charity, or curating an investment portfolio, people want to know what behavior or causes their dollars are supporting. In short, it matters to us where our money goes.
The public has scrutinized various facets of our consumer choices for years on ethical, religious, and social concerns. How and where is our clothing manufactured? Are those workers paid fairly? Are there additives in this food one might want to avoid?
Funds that Match Your Values
Similarly, investors want to know whether companies they buy from or own through stocks display strong political leanings. They also want to know whether companies push certain causes (if only, perhaps, via the company’s leaders or founders). Depending on the answer, this could lead an investor to double down on or run from a possible investment if a cause runs contrary to one’s personal convictions.
Such concerns are no less true for the charitably minded. Donors use DonorsTrust because of the alignment in free-market principles. It is a reasonable assumption that those same values extend beyond our universe of grantees and include the investment options we offer our clients.
We’ve recently added two exchange-traded funds (ETF) to our general investment pool. It’s our hope these ETFs mitigate some accountholders’ concerns they’re funding harmful causes. The new offerings include “Life Neutral Plus” ETF (CBOE: LYFE) and the Second Amendment and border-security neutral “Society Defended” ETF (CBOE: EGIS).
Pro-life, Pro-Second Amendment Funds
Both ETFs are created and offered by 2ndVoteFunds. The ETFs enable donors to diversify the options available for donor-advised fund account holders with funds explicitly set up around free-market values.
As it states on its website, “2ndVote Advisors is the first and only investment adviser offering investments that are ESG Neutral so that Libertarians, conservative Americans, Reagan Democrats and people of faith no longer have to compromise their values for a return investment.”
The Life Neutral Plus ETF excludes from its assets companies that “directly or indirectly support abortion or abortion related advocacy groups.” The Society Defended ETF, meanwhile, penalizes companies that provide “direct or indirect support to organizations which support gun free zones,” among other things.
Both funds are curated using a proprietary social-rating system. The rating system awards points to companies that advocate for gun rights. Likewise, a company’s score goes down the more it supports gun-control measures.
Additionally, the Society Defended ETF awards a “border security score” to companies included in the fund. It dings companies over-reliant on China or other nations for supplies. It also penalizes companies that donate to organizations that bolster illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.
Conversely, companies receive better marks if they support legal immigration; aren’t overly reliant on foreign countries for supplies; and avoid doing business with countries that don’t have the United States’ best interest at heart. Click here for more detailed information on the fund.
BlackRock Funds Axed
In addition to shoring up the number of investment options that jibe with donors’ values, we’ve taken steps to eliminate funds that don’t jibe with many conservative- and libertarian-leaning donors. For example, among our managed-fund offerings with Merrill Lynch, we’ve eliminated BlackRock investment funds.
BlackRock—the “world’s largest asset manager,” according to the Washington Post—in April made headlines after a Wall Street Journal exposé listed the firm as one among many that antagonized conservative voters and acted in an anti-free enterprise manner (i.e. gobbling up single-family homes at the expense of middle-class and first-time homebuyers).
A Principled Partner
These upgrades to our charitable investment account offerings address the problem posed by our politicalized marketplace. It is important to us that we provide a diversity of investment choices to our ever-growing family of accountholders. Some accountholders will want options such as those offered by 2ndVoteFunds. Others are content remaining with our existing choices.
Our mission is to preserve donor-intent for those seeking change without government expansion. We underscore that mission now with a donor-advised fund investment pool that reflects the values of our philanthropic community. For more information on our new funds, visit www.2ndVoteFunds.com.
DonorsTrust clients will receive information on how to re-allocate their DAF holdings to include these new funds.
Not already working with DonorsTrust? Rolling over an existing donor-advised fund or opening a new account is easy. Simply click here to get started.