Social Purpose Funds

Use this information to help you choose which investment funds to include in your ELCA retirement account.

Your Investments Make a Difference

Learn how communities are being changed through positive social investing.

The ELCA retirement plan offers eight Social Purpose funds that align with the social teachings and policies of the ELCA. These funds appeal to investors who want to feel confident that the money they’re saving for tomorrow is being used to make a positive difference in the world today. Learn about investing for social impact

Each of the eight Social Purpose funds is designed to offer investors returns consistent with targeted risk/return characteristics that support their retirement goals while also creating positive social impact. These funds do that by seeking out investment opportunities that enhance God’s kingdom, and by screening out companies that conflict with the church’s teachings. In addition, on behalf of all our funds, Portico engages in shareholder advocacy as a means to positively influence companies in which we invest.Learn about shareholder advocacy

To help achieve even greater social impact, seven of the eight Social Purpose funds employ an increasingly popular form of positive social investing called social impact first (SIF). SIF investments accept a somewhat lower projected return and/or somewhat higher projected risk for a portion of the fund’s investments in order to invest in companies and organizations that support initiatives like affordable housing, reduced greenhouse emissions, and renewable energy.

Up to 10% of the assets in Social Purpose funds (excluding the Social Purpose Stock Index Fund) may be applied to SIF investment opportunities. These investments carry no more than 25% greater projected risk and no more than 25% lower projected return than similar investments not prioritizing social impact. The remaining 90% of the assets include positive social investments with higher return projections than SIF investments.

SIF Effect on Return

Portico analyzed the projected return over 10 years of the 60e Fund and the Social Purpose 60e Fund assuming the largest projected return difference allowed by SIF guidelines. As this is a hypothetical, your investment results may vary. Also, past performance is not indicative of future results. This analysis assumed:

  • A hypothetical $100,000 starting balance for each fund
  • The Social Purpose 60e Fund included 10% SIF investments projected to return 25% less than similar investments not prioritizing social impact

Potential Impact: The Social Purpose 60e Fund balance was projected in 10 years to be lower than the 60e Fund balance by about $5,000. This equates to an annualized projected return that is lower by about 0.3%.

Important: Whenever possible, Portico intends to lessen the difference between funds with and without SIF investing by seeking out SIF investments that are less likely to lower return as much as the 25% assumed here.

Hypothetical Returns, For Illustrative Purposes Only

60e Fund
Starting balance: $100,000
Balance after 10 years: About $221,000

Social Purpose 60e Fund Enhanced with SIF Investments
Starting balance: $100,000
Balance after 10 years: About $216,000

Measuring SIF Effect

SIF investments demonstrate measureable impact, quantitatively and anecdotally, using metrics targeting key areas of ELCA mission suggested by the ELCA’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Table.

Potential SIF Metrics that Align with ELCA Key Areas of Mission




  • Volume of potable (drinking) water produced and delivered
  • Number of people provided access to potable water
  • Volume of water processed through recycling, reclamation or reuse


  • Kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy or gallons of renewable fuel equivalents produced
  • Amount of energy saved/conserved in kWh


  • Area of land directly controlled and under sustainable cultivation/stewardship


  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions measured in # of metric tons of CO2 equivalent

Community Development



  • Number and type (e.g. education, health) of community development facilities built, renovated, or purchased


  • Number of permanent and part-time jobs created or maintained in low income areas and/or areas of diversity


  • Number of affordable housing units financed
  • Number of individuals that obtained affordable housing




  • Number of students enrolled in low income areas and/or areas of diversity


  • Diseases/conditions treated
  • Number of patients served in low income areas and/or areas of diversity

You should carefully consider the target asset allocations, investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of any fund before investing in it. All funds, including ELCA funds, are subject to risk and uncertainty. Past performance cannot be used to predict future performance. ELCA funds are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Fund assets are invested in multiple sectors of the market. Some sectors, as well as the funds, may perform below expectations and lose money over short or extended periods. See the ELCA Investment Fund Descriptions for more information about our funds.

Neither Portico Benefit Services nor the funds it manages are subject to registration, regulation, or reporting under the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, or state securities laws. Members, therefore, will not be afforded the protections of those provisions of those laws and related regulations.

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