How Would Jesus Invest?

There's a story in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about a man named Tom Czech, who's the president of Summit Investment Management Ltd. in Milwaukee. Czech, who's Catholic, will not invest in companies that peddle sin, which is to say he won't put his or anyone else's dough in "tobacco makers, contraceptive peddlers [or] companies that support abortion or practice discrimination." Everyone else is fair game, even if Czech doesn't agree with the companies' practices or products. After all, he insists, "To create change, you have to own a stock." Hence, the creation of Czech's Catholic Values 100 portfolio.

What's this got to do with Dallas? Well, Czech has partnered with Dallas-based Aquinas Associates, which likewise offers a "faith-based portfolio" for clients who don't want their money winding up in the wallets of heathens. According to a 2005 story in Time, some 58 faith-based mutual funds sprang up between then and 2001, with Frank Rauscher's Aquinas Associates as "the most aggressive of the faith-based investors...committed to advancing Catholic values."

And, according to Time, it was quite successful -- even if most folks around here have never heard of the fund: Not only did it help convince Whirlpool to stop donating to Planned Parenthood, it also "joined other investors in petitioning executives at Disney and Best Buy until both companies took steps to closely monitor products that could allegedly provoke faithlessness (such as films critical of religion) or harmful behavior in consumers (like those violent video games)."

Rausher left the company shortly before the Time story ran; he became a "consultant on shareholder-advocacy issues," which means he got people to invest in companies in desperate need of salvation. If nothing else, perhaps, he can answer this question.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky