What is GuideStone's approach to pro-life investing?


Key Takeaways:

  • After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, some publicly traded companies proactively made available to the public their abortion policies, which captured national news headlines. This new posturing in the marketplace underscored the need for faith-based, pro-life investment strategies, which have been part of GuideStone’s mission since its inception.
  • GuideStone’s Impact Funds are both proactively promoting human dignity and sanctity of life by refraining from directly supporting the abortion industry and by proactively investing in support systems for mothers and their children before and after birth.
  • Over the past few years, the largest increase in securities screened at GuideStone® has been unequivocally our biblical stance on life.

A Shifting Investment Landscape

GuideStone has remained vigilant in monitoring and adjusting our strategies to advance the sanctity of life in a rapidly shifting landscape. By bringing proxy voting in-house in 2023 and expanding our process for screening the companies we invest in, we ensure that regardless of cultural shifts, our Funds protect the sanctity of life and remain aligned with biblical principles. Doing so led to the hiring of additional in-house staff with faith-driven investment experience, as well as the acquisition of additional software capabilities.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, we have seen several State governments act to recognize the dignity of an unborn baby and advance pro-life policies. It has led the pro-life movement to be at the forefront of many elections over the past 18 months.

But it has also marked a significant — and ongoing — shift in what it looks like to hold fast to pro-life values in the marketplace. Some publicly traded companies have responded to the end of Roe v. Wade by announcing their internal abortion policies and practices. In return, this has led many Christians to seek out more ways to encourage society to value every human life, from the unborn to death.

At GuideStone, not a quarter goes by when our methodology doesn’t get more refined in some way as we seek to apply faith values in a broken world. We are regularly assessing new data technology to assist in screening, culling through new research insights, and listening to our members who desire both the ability to finish well in retirement while also doing good in the world.

A Commitment to Pro-Life Advocacy

Yet, while culture and the marketplace are ever-changing, the biblical values that shape our investment philosophy and processes at GuideStone remain timeless, and our commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn remains unchanged. For 23 years, we have developed mutual funds consistent with biblical values by carefully screening our investments to exclude anything that is publicly recognized as being in the alcohol, tobacco, gambling, or abortion industries.

Advocating for the sanctity of life through every season has always been central to our mission and ministry at GuideStone — and cultural shifts have only made it more important to make sure that our Funds do not directly contribute to industries that result in the loss of innocent life.

The pro-life component of our investment portfolio focuses on protecting and promoting life from conception through one’s final breath, both reactively in response to abortion practices and proactively in promoting care for parents facing poverty, women’s prenatal health, medical advancements for babies born prematurely and creating a safer world for children to grow up in.

These Funds do not — and will not — directly contribute to the abortion industry, including any abortion-inducing drugs. Most recently, GuideStone has implemented two key changes to further strengthen our ability to defend the sanctity of life:

1. Bringing Proxy Voting In-house

To shape our mutual funds, GuideStone had previously relied upon external industry experts to vote in shareholder meetings for the companies we are invested in. However, as the climate rapidly shifted in recent years, it became clear we needed to change this process and speak more strongly and clearly into the new advocacy environment emerging in corporations around human dignity and the value of innocent life. As a result, we enacted the transition on July 1, 2023 to bring proxy voting in-house. Today GuideStone is very directly speaking into companies’ actions and positioning with our Christian values.

In addition to increasing our ability to remain vigilant about the values of the companies we are investing in, bringing proxy voting in-house has also enabled us to lean into expanded relationships with like-minded peers who are also participating in values-based and faith-based investing strategies. By linking arms with other like-minded groups and asset managers, we have been increasingly able to make our faith values heard in the marketplace. We are proactively shaping the market by conferring with these organizations to discuss how to vote on issues to best align with our shared biblical values.

2. Growing our Dedicated Committee on Faith-Based Investing

The faith-based witness of our investments is not something we leave up to chance or to be determined by external parties. For many years, the Committee on Faith-Based Investing has intentionally shaped GuideStone’s Funds. On a daily basis, a team of faith-based investing analysts, who report to this committee, use an in-depth process unique to GuideStone to keep our Funds aligned with biblical principles and to help advance the sanctity of life.

It is an ongoing effort to not only choose companies aligned with our pro-life values at the time of our initial investment, but it is also important that they remain aligned as we continue to invest in them. If the products and services of these companies shift to conflict with our biblical values, we will reevaluate our investment through our proprietary process. For example, we recently divested from some commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) because some of the underlying mortgages were for commercial properties whose tenants, such as Planned Parenthood and AbbVie, engage in abortion or abortion-related practices.

A Kingdom Impact Investment Strategy

Over the past few years, the largest increase in securities screened at GuideStone has been unequivocally our biblical stance on life. We have been able to do this while also protecting investments to help our members retire well, knowing that their resources were managed through a biblical lens that recognizes the Author and Creator.

This screening process also includes proactively looking for areas where our members can make a Kingdom impact in advancing the sanctity of life and spreading the Gospel. We strategically target investments that help alleviate leading factors that drive people to get abortions. For example, 81% of women living below the poverty line who elected to have an abortion stated the main reason was the lack of resources to raise a child.

By investing in organizations that provide parents with access to affordable housing and educational opportunities, we can be a part of providing a better solution: a safe future for the parents and their children. Stable housing has also been shown to directly benefit children long-term by improving their health and education outcomes and decreasing the likelihood they will remain stuck in a cycle of poverty.

At GuideStone, we recognize the dignity and value in every human life. We are grateful for the many GuideStone members who entrust us to grow their resources while also promoting a culture of life in the marketplace — one that protects unborn babies, supports the health and well-being of mothers, and cultivates environments for families to thrive.

We are committed to continually assessing our processes and adapting our practices to remain true to our mission and serve as a trustworthy ministry partner to help our members advance the Kingdom of God through all aspects of their lives.


Important Information

Investment considerations: There can be no guarantee that any strategy will be successful. All investing involves risk, including potential loss of principal.

Funds invested in accordance with the faith-based investment restrictions of GuideStone Financial Resources may not be able to take advantage of certain investment opportunities due to these restrictions, which may adversely affect investment performance.