Impact Investing

We are an impact investing firm in Chicago that seeks to generate positive returns by making prudent and disciplined investments on behalf of our investors.


Impact Investing

Pekin Hardy Strauss has a long history of socially responsible investing. We help clients ensure that their investment portfolios support not only their financial goals, but also their personal values.

We work with individuals and families to understand the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) characteristics of their portfolios and then customize their portfolios in support of their social and environmental principles. We can exclude firms or industries that don’t align with a client’s values, and seek out investments with positive ESG characteristics through our rigorous investment process.

Our Impact

We have managed the Appleseed Fund, our go-anywhere, fossil fuel-free, ESG-focused mutual fund with an explicit socially responsible mandate since its inception in 2006. ESG characteristics play a critical role in how we select investments for the fund, as we only invest in companies that pass a series of ESG screens. As researchers, we believe that ESG research increases our knowledge, and increased knowledge decreases our clients’ investment risk. As investors, we believe socially responsible investing can improve investment outcomes by supporting good corporate citizens and avoiding poorly managed firms in our portfolios.

Once we have made an investment in a company, we continue to advocate for more sustainable business practices by engaging with management, voting on shareholder initiatives, and initiating shareholder resolutions:

Shareholder Advocacy and Resolutions

Where appropriate, we initiate shareholder advocacy efforts to encourage boards and management teams to be more transparent and responsible in ESG matters. In some cases, we may file a formal resolution to ratify or request a specific action be taken by a corporate board in the interests of increased sustainability. In the past, the firm has engaged in several successful resolutions influencing change in sustainable reporting, board diversity, board compensation, and other key ESG metrics.

Dialogue and Management

We believe investors can have a significant influence on the companies they own through informal engagement. We use our ongoing conversations with company management to further encourage their commitment to ESG principles.

Proxy Voting

We vote proxies for our mutual fund shareholders in a manner that considers investors’ interests and that encourages boards to govern companies more responsibly. Our votes support management incentives that we believe are aligned with the creation of long-term value for stakeholders, encourage more transparent reporting on companies’ sustainability initiatives, and bolster boards’ efforts to govern more responsibly.

Community Investing

In addition to our efforts to create a positive impact through our public market investments, we also seek to create direct impact in underserved communities by partnering with and investing in various Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and community investment funds.

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) is a long-term investment strategy that considers environmental, social, and corporate governance. We seek to minimize potential downside risk through the analyses of material non-financial factors and implementation of both positive and negative ESG screening. Factors include environmental and sustainability reporting and transparency, regulatory, litigation and reputation risk, shareholder interests and brand integrity, board structure, accountability and executive compensation, and select negative screening.

To better understand how your portfolio aligns with your values or if you want a workshop for your organization, please schedule a complimentary assessment with our ESG investing team in Chicago.


Get In Touch

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You should carefully consider the investment objectives, potential risks, management fees, and charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. The Fund's prospectus contains this and other information about the Fund, and should be read carefully before investing. You may obtain a current copy of the Fund's prospectus by calling 1-800-470-1029.

There is no guarantee that the vehicles presented will succeed; and investment results may vary. Bonds are affected by a number of risks, including fluctuations in interest rates, credit risk, and prepayment risk. Alternative Private Investments, such as REIT's and real-estate related securities involve special risks. such as limited liquidity and interest rates risk. Investors in alternative investments should bear in mind that these products can be highly speculative and may not be suitable for all clients. Investments in commodities may be affected by overall market movements, changes in interest rates, and other factors, such as weather disease, embargoes, and international economic and political developments.

The universe of acceptable investments for the Fund may be limited as compared to other funds due to the Fund’s ESG investment screening. Because the Fund does not invest in companies that do not meet its ESG criteria, and the Fund may sell portfolio companies that subsequently violate its screens, the Fund may be riskier than other mutual funds that invest in a broader array of securities. Although the Pekin Hardy believes that the Fund can achieve its investment objective within the parameters of ESG investing, eliminating certain securities as investments may have an adverse effect on the Fund’s performance.

The Fund's past performance does not guarantee future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment in the Fund will fluctuate so that an investor's shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance of the Fund may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. Performance data current to the most recent month end may be obtained by calling 1-800-470-1029.

The Fund is managed by Pekin Hardy Strauss Inc. an SEC registered investment firm dedicated to value investing. For more information, visit

The Appleseed Fund is distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC. (member FINRA)