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Growing your wealth and spreading Christ's message through faith-based investing

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Catholics are called to help others and spread Christ's message, but they also need to protect and grow their own finances in order to support their families, Church, and charitable causes.

''If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?" (1 John 3:17)

Catholics are called to spread God's love and live by Jesus' example in their daily lives. This is especially important now as war rages in Ukraine, food insecurity increases amid rising prices, the environment continues to be threatened, and the world still reels from widespread illness and death caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As followers of Christ, Catholics feel a responsibility to help others. There are many ways that we can donate our time and treasure, and one of these is investing money in a faith-based manner. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has published guidelines for how Catholics can invest in line with their values. Faith-based investing allows Catholics to grow wealth while supporting companies that do good work. Investing in a Catholic faith-based fund or following the USCCB guidelines enables Catholics to positively impact the world by:

-- Avoiding companies doing "evil" work. Portfolios or funds that follow USCCB guidelines screen out companies whose business practices conflict with Catholic values. For instance, these may include companies that produce pornography, contraceptive devices, or nuclear weapons. Catholics should not want their money supporting companies whose work is contrary to their innate beliefs, so it makes sense for them to invest in ways that avoid such companies.

-- Furthering Catholic ideals through investor activism. Because shares in a company give investors partial ownership of it, each investor has some influence over how the business behaves. A Catholic faith-based fund should certainly screen out any companies that directly violate USCCB guidelines, but there are also companies that might indirectly support movements contrary to Catholic values through donations or other involvement. In these instances, investors can use their monetary influence to try to sway a company to fall more in line with Catholic ideals. For instance, the FIS Knights of Columbus Global Belief ETF (NYSE: KOCG) offered by Faith Investor Services is sub-advised by the Knights of Columbus, who actively engage companies in an effort to change any behaviors contradictory to Catholic values.

-- Supporting charitable efforts. In addition to supporting companies that reflect Catholic values and screening out those that don't, some Catholic faith-based funds are directly involved in charitable work to help combat suffering around the world today. By investing in these funds, Catholics can monetarily help others in desperate need of it. For example, the Knights of Columbus are not only sub-adviser to the KOCG ETF, but have also established the Ukraine Solidarity Fund to provide shelter, food, and necessary supplies to Ukrainians struggling in their war-torn country. Additionally, the Knights of Columbus donate over $100 million dollars annually to many other important charitable initiatives.

Catholics are called to help others and spread Christ's message, but they also need to protect and grow their own finances in order to support their families, Church, and charitable causes. Investing in a faith-based manner or in a specific Catholic faith-based fund like the KOCG ETF can help Catholics achieve this goal, while resting assured they are living their values and helping enact much-needed positive change in the world.

If you would like to learn more about faith-based investing, tune into our webinar on May 10 at 5 p.m. Eastern, "Aligning Your Investments with Your Catholic Values," held in conjunction with The Boston Pilot, The Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors, and Faith Investor Services. Information on how to join the webinar can be found on page 5 of this week's printed edition, on TheBostonPilot.com or at the link: bit.ly/faithinvesting.

MIKE SKILLMAN IS CEO OF FAITH INVESTOR SERVICES.



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