“Lobbying” for Morally Responsible Investing

It’s been an embarrassing time for Hobby Lobby, the retail store chain that had most of us cheering when they took their case against the Obamacare mandate all the way to the Supreme Court. Regardless if Hobby Lobby wins in court what promises to be a landmark case exempting it from abiding by the HHS mandate, the company has other issues to address internally.

Hobby LobbyAfter a little digging into Hobby Lobby’s 401(k) plan, Mother Jones, a nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting uncovered that the closely-held company’s 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes matching contributions to their company-sponsored 401(k).

Considering the investment the Green family has made fighting the mandate, the story is likely more unfortunate than hypocritical. It didn’t need to happen! And what’s worse, other pro-life companies and ordinary pro-life investors all have an easy choice – there are pro-life investment funds that screen out stocks of companies that may be engaged in Planned Parenthood, certain abortion drugs, or embryonic stem cell research. If this news about Hobby Lobby has made you uncomfortable about your retirement plan choices, you are not alone. Fortunately, we have a policy of preventing our investors from making morally objectionable investments.

The Stewardship Foundation is adamant about carefully selecting our investment portfolios. We guide our donors and partner nonprofit organizations to practice morally responsible investing that matches the foundation’s call to Christian conscience. And we do this with no sacrifice in investment returns. If you or your organization is unsure whether or not your portfolio matches your morals, we are happy to assist you make that determination.

The following is a summation of the companies behind the Hobby Lobby debacle:

“These companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which makes Plan B and ParaGard, a copper IUD, and Actavis, which makes a generic version of Plan B and distributes Ella. Other stock holdings in the mutual funds selected by Hobby Lobby include Pfizer, the maker of Cytotec and Prostin E2, which are used to induce abortions; Bayer, which manufactures the hormonal IUDs Skyla and Mirena; AstraZeneca, which has an Indian subsidiary that manufactures Prostodin, Cerviprime, and Partocin, three drugs commonly used in abortions; and Forest Laboratories, which makes Cervidil, a drug used to induce abortions. Several funds in the Hobby Lobby retirement plan also invested in Aetna and Humana, two health insurance companies that cover surgical abortions, abortion drugs, and emergency contraception in many of the health care policies they sell.”

— Mother Jones Article ‘Hobby Lobby’s Hypocrisy: The Company’s Retirement Plan Invests in Contraception Manufacturers’, April 1, 2014

— Patrick Finneran

“Deduct Now, and Give Later”

The New Year is almost here and the giving season is in full swing. People are donating to charity more than usual and they must make numerous decisions during uncertain tax law changes.  With the fiscal cliff deadline just weeks away, we know changes in government spending and taxes are looming. One major tax change Taxpayers fear is that Washington will cut tax deductions for charitable gifts as soon as next year.

This very concern is addressed in a recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Deduct Now, and Give Later”. Author Laura Saunders highlighted the value of Donor Advised Funds as she offers the following scenario where a Donor Advised Fund would make sense to set up before 2012 ends:

“…a couple earning $200,000 gives $20,000 in cash to a charitable fund this year. They take a 2012 deduction for $20,000, and the money goes into a subaccount in their name at a sponsoring nonprofit organization.

Once in the subaccount, the money is invested and can grow tax-free until the couple designates eligible groups to receive it, at which point there isn’t any deduction. There isn’t a required annual payout, so the couple might give nothing in 2013 and then a large donation in 2014, to one church, charity or school—or many. The sponsor handles all tax paperwork, and some allow payouts of as little as $50.” 

The Stewardship Foundation can assist donors and investors in setting up a Donor Advised Fund and help them receive a tax deduction for 2012 up until December 15, 2012.

For more explanations and charitable giving ideas, visit our ‘Donors’ Webpage.