A Jackie Robinson Day Lesson: ETF Returns and Giving

An etf.com award nominee is among the funds that aim at returns while also giving back.

Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
Edited by: Ron Day

Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated in Major League Baseball stadiums yesterday, commemorating the day in 1947 when the Brooklyn Dodgers' slugger broke the sport’s longstanding color barrier. 

During Monday’s games, all players wore Robinson's now-retired number 42. For baseball fans, it's a celebration and remembrance of Robinson's courage, patience and persistence in the face of resistance from fans and players alike. Calling him was the most important athlete of the 20th century is hardly an overstatement, and his legacy lives on in baseball and his lifelong commitment to others.

In the ETF industry, nothing will compare with what Jackie Robinson did for his era, his industry and for humanity. However, our business has its own share of heroes in the form of ETFs that draw attention to causes and help us live up to Robinson’s quote that “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” 

Here are a few such ETFs, starting with one that was nominated for the best new ESG ETF award at the etf.com awards event coming up this Wednesday night in New York City.

ETFs That Help Different Types of Heroes

That would be the $50 million Academy Veteran Impact ETF (VETZ) which invests in mortgage-backed securities issued to U.S. service members, military veterans, and their survivors, or veteran-owned businesses. The fund’s sub-adviser, Academy Asset Management, donates a portion of its management fee to veteran and military-related charities. According to the fund's website, it has returned 3.3% since its August 2023 launch.

The $134 million Simplify Healthcare ETF (PINK) is no ordinary healthcare fund.  It's active on two fronts: its actively managed stock portfolio invests in biotech, gene therapy and other stocks, and donates 100% of its net profit to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. It has returned 17% over the past year.

And the River North Patriot ETF (FLDZ) is a small fund at $3.5 million in assets, but it carries a big, worthy mission. The fund itself invests in a core portfolio of U.S. large and mid-cap stocks. But as is the case with the other ETFs described above, FLDZ commits to donating the majority of its sub-advisory fee to the Folds of Honor Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides educational scholarships to the families of military men and women who have fallen or been disabled while on duty in the U.S. armed forces. FLDZ, while giving, has also returned 16% over the past year.

Jackie Robinson was best known as a Hall of Fame baseball player. But incredibly, he starred in four different sports as a college student at UCLA. And following his career on the field, he succeeded in the business world, as the first African American Vice President of a major U.S. corporation, Chock full o’Nuts. He also helped start an African American Owned Bank.

The ETF industry doesn’t have a Jackie Robinson because there will never be another one like him. But the business that helps investors and financial advisors succeed in a different way celebrates some of its most outstanding contributors and innovators this Wednesday night. Congratulations to all the nominees and leaders who make the ETF business one that breaks down barriers for investors every day.


Rob Isbitts was an investment advisor for 27 years before selling his practice to focus on ETF research and education. He is based in Weston, Florida. Contact him at  [email protected] and follow him on LinkedIn.