The stars in the world of socially responsible investing are companies like Pax World, Parnassus and Ariel, which have leveraged the model to gain billions of dollars of assets under management.

American Values Investments, Inc., in Gray, Tenn., is tiny by comparison, managing a mere $25 million. Yet the advisory firm has succeeded, albeit on a smaller scale, by adding a twist to socially responsible investing: Rather than screening companies out, it focuses on screening them in.

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