Ave Maria Mutual Funds

Ave Maria Mutual Funds

Ave Maria Mutual Funds is a U.S. mutual fund family that targets clients interested in financially sound investments in companies that do not violate certain religious principles of the Roman Catholic Church. Often described as socially responsible investing (SRI), but more accuratedly in the case of Ave Maria Mutual Funds, morally-responsible investing (MRI) or faith-based investing.

According to the fund family prospectus and website, the company screens its investments first on financial criteria, then eliminates companies involved in the practice of abortion or whose policies are judged to be anti-family. What constitutes anti-family practices is based on moral judgments made by the company's Catholic Advisory Board. Examples cited by the fund family include companies distributing pornography, and companies with policies that they view undermine the sacrament of marriage, such as those that provide employees with non-marital partner benefits, commonly referred to as domestic partners.

The first of its funds were established in 2001. At the end of 2006, the Ave Maria Mutual Funds had about $500 million in assets under management. Most of that money is invested in the firm's flagship fund, Ave Maria Catholic Values Fund (Ticker: AVEMX); other funds include Ave Maria Growth Fund (AVEGX), Ave Maria Rising Dividend Fund (AVEDX), the Ave Maria Bond Fund (AVEFX), and the Ave Maria Opportunity Fund (AVESX). The five Ave Maria Mutual Funds are managed by Bloomfield Hills, Michigan based Schwartz Investment Counsel, Inc. The firm was established in 1980 by George Schwartz. There is also an Ave Maria Money Market Account, which is really a money market fund managed by Pittsburgh, PA based Federated Investors.

Schwartz has a stated goal of growing the assets of the fund family into the billions. That way, Ave Maria may be able to influence practices at companies such as Eli Lilly, which the fund sold when the company began offering benefits to unmarried partners of employees.

The Catholic Equity Fund merged into Ave Maria Rising Dividend Fund on March 30, 2007.

Catholic Advisory Board

In defining its process for screening investments based on religious principles, the board members are "guided by the magisterium of the Catholic Church and actively seek the advice and counsel of Catholic clergy." As of May 1, 2007, the board consists of the following members:

The board's ecclesiastic advisor is Adam Cardinal Maida.

External links

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