For 25 Years, Timothy Plan’s Biblical Screens Have Helped Christians Know How Their Money Is Invested
Faithful Must Know Where Their God-Given Resources Are Going, and Timothy Plan’s Industry-Leading Screening Process Opens Their Eyes
Hedge fund managers go about finding investment ideas in a variety of different ways. Some target stocks with low multiples, while others look for growth names, and still others combine growth and value when looking for ideas. Some active fund managers use themes to look for ideas, and Owen Fitzpatrick of Aristotle Atlantic Partners is Read More
ORLANDO, Fla.—Since 1993, an intricate screening process has been an integral part of the Timothy Plan family of biblically based mutual funds, which was founded by Art Ally utilizing the first pro-family, pro-life screening standard. Ally had met with a financial adviser who had the vision to create a software program comparing screens based on certain values against mutual fund holdings. The reports generated a transparent view of the violation of the underlying holdings of mutual funds. Ally knew the same could work for biblical screens.
With humble beginnings and not many technological advances to help the initiative at the outset, Timothy Plan’s screening process has changed and improved over the years, and sources for research also increased with the accessibility of the internet. Eventually an extensive database was created, which today is made available through eVALUEator Services, LLC.
“Timothy Plan’s commitment is first to the Lord, and it will not invest a single penny into any company violating the biblical screens,” Ally said.
The screens were created based on the following core beliefs:
We believe our bodies and the lives we lead are gifts from our Creator. A healthy biblical lifestyle is a life free from addiction, participation in activities posing potential harm to ourselves or others, and sexual impropriety. Alternatively, a healthy biblical lifestyle protects the sanctity of marriage and sexuality, promotes care of our bodies, assists those who struggle with substance abuse, and strives to promote social justice and equality for our most vulnerable.
Biblical screens guidelines
We understand the screens we choose to focus on may not appeal to everyone. And some may even find them controversial. All of our screens are based on how scripture instructs us to live. Our purpose is not to judge the person, but to avoid the actions that cause His people to stumble. Our hope is that no matter your views, one can respect our desire to please the Lord in all we do and say.
Today, these screens consist of five cultural screens and three social screens having multiple subcategories. Companies with one or more violations are removed as an investment option. This information is actively updated and communicated to the Timothy Plan fund managers for compliance and accountability.
“Each fund is spot-checked to determine whether a company in the portfolio has recently engaged in an activity violating the screens,” Ally said. “Timothy Plan has a strict screening policy on any company violating the screens; in other words, if any company currently owned is determined to be in violation, it is liquidated as soon as practically possible, keeping, of course, the interests of shareholders as the primary concern.”
Biblical screens - 8 criteria
The eight Timothy Plan screens include the following:
- LIFE | ABORTION: Life is a precious gift from God—even from the moment of conception. This screen seeks to protect the life of the unborn by screening out companies involved in the abortion industry, including fetal tissue research and the manufacturing and distribution of abortifacients.
- PURITY | PORNOGRAPHY: Our culture has exchanged true beauty and sexuality for the lust of the eyes and impurity—and seeks to make it a commodity. This screen identifies companies engaged in the promotion of adult themes through advertisements, media, games, stores, establishments, publications and the internet.
- FAMILY | ENTERTAINMENT: Families are the foundation of our culture, and the values we instill need to be preserved. This screen identifies companies engaged in anti-family entertainment through the promotion of violence, language, sex and drugs through advertisements, media, games, stores, establishments and publications.
- MARRIAGE | LIFESTYLE: Marriage is holy—instituted by God. This screen filters to recognize companies that would define marriage beyond a sacred bond between a man and a woman instituted by and publicly entered into before God.
- LIBERTY | RIGHTS: We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are removed from many people across the world. This screen identifies companies that are involved in human oppression, human trafficking, slave labor, terrorism and Christian persecution.
- STEWARDSHIP | GAMBLING: We are called to be wise stewards with all that God has given us—not as ones who gamble away our money or bring ourselves to ruin. This screen identifies gambling related activities, including equipment manufacturers, casinos, riverboats, cruise lines, racetracks and gambling software.
- LONGEVITY | TOBACCO: Known as a silent killer and a common cause of lung cancer, Timothy Plan does not invest in companies that manufacture tobacco. This screen identifies manufacturers of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco products, tobacco leaf distributors and marketers, and tobacco-specific retail stores.
- SOBRIETY | ALCOHOL: Alcohol addiction hurts and destroys children and families; therefore, Timothy Plan does not invest in companies that manufacture alcohol. This screen identifies companies including brewers, distillers, microbrewers and winemakers.
Market research on religious investing
Over the years, eVALUEator has been an essential tool to ensure Timothy Plan funds stay clean. Today, eVALUEator imports information from market data researcher Morningstar and continuously cross checks the holdings against research constantly. As of 2019, other investment firms are also using this service to help screen their investments, along with several foundations.
“There were some funds screened for alcohol, tobacco, and gambling, but that was it,” recalled Dave Hart, who runs eVALUEator.
“Whether you are new to the faith or are mature in your Christian walk, selecting a mutual fund should be about more than its rate of return—it should also complement your faith,” Ally said. “Until the creation of eVALUEator, it was difficult for individuals to know how to align their investments with their values. Viewing a screen report of a mutual fund can be an eye-opening experience. Christians work hard to abstain from sin in areas encountered daily. Parents are generally on guard to protect children from the impact of the culture.
Biblical screens to avoid focusing on the wrong priority
“It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when it comes to investing,” Ally added. “Tobacco companies pay high dividends to shareholders, and yet return no redeemable value to society. Once viewed, an eVALUEator report cannot be placed back in a box. It has a way of exposing personal idols, particularly when it comes to money and stewardship. Investing as the secular world does while claiming God owns it all very much denies Christ with our lifestyle. Do you know what you own?”
The story of Ally and Timothy Plan is detailed in the new book, “Invested with Purpose: The Birth of the Biblically Responsible Investment Movement,” which outlines Ally’s life and work as the BRI pioneer and tells the story of how one man’s vision led to a revolution. “Invested with Purpose” officially launched in August at the 2019 Nehemiah Week, a gathering of business leaders in Washington, D.C. Nehemiah Project International Ministries published the book. Learn more about the book or order here.