Socially responsible funds, or SRIs, are becoming more mainstream, according to a recent report from The Lexington Herald.

One reason, said Matthew Patsky, co-manager of Winslow Green Growth Fund, is that companies that give thought to the environment are also more than likely to give thought to how they treat their employees.

"There is growing evidence, and broadening acknowledgement, that these kinds of non-financial issues are important to long-term performance," he said.

The Ave Maria Funds, for example, places catholic virtues highly and screens out companies connected with abortion and pornography. As result, it attracts the attention of many pro-lifers.

The New Covenant Funds attracts investors who appreciate the fact that it screens for affiliations with alcohol, tobacco, gambling and some aspects of defense.

"The SRI investing world is still relatively new. A lot of firms are still trying to establish a good track record in domestic small-caps and mid-caps," said Greg Carlson, fund analyst at Morningstar. "It requires a ramping up on the social research side, as well. And, with some overseas companies, you see less transparency than you do domestically."

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