Archived Sections, Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is committed to community growth

Doing well by doing good

It’s not exactly like playing Santa Claus, but Lutherans in the greater Twin
Cities area, in partnership with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans chapters,
contributed nearly $11.5 million to various charitable, outreach activities in
2007.
Lutherans who are Thrivent members (through having Thrivent insurance
policies, using Thrivent financial services, or holding Thrivent Financial Bank
accounts) can influence how these substantial amounts of money are directed
to charitable causes.
Most Lutheran congregations have three congregational coordinators who
complete requests for financial backing for charitable causes and forward
them to their Thrivent chapter that works with several Lutheran
congregations. These chapters can approve requests for financing projects,
based on established criteria and available funds.
The Twin Cities area has 136,225 Thrivent Financial for Lutherans members
in 23 chapters. These chapters generally consist of Thrivent members in
several Lutheran congregations in the same geographic area. In 2007 these
chapters in the Twin Cities area conducted 2,858 activities that raised a total
of $4,980,846 which was combined with $1,976,197 from Thrivent Financial,
according to Joy Peterson, with Lutheran Community Services for Thrivent.
Those activities ranged from a community-wide auction to raise funds for a
sick child to building a handicap-accessible play area at a local park.
The Northwest Hennepin and Minneapolis Corporate Center chapters recently
partnered in an event that raised more than $25,000 for Zach White’s medical
care. Zach, age 6, underwent surgery for a rare form of cancer back in 2006;
while the surgery successfully removed his tumor, the surgery itself caused
complications and at Christmas-time 2007 his cancer returned, resulting in
the need for additional treatment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and Sloan
Kettering Hospital in New York City.
Another example of Thrivent generosity was a sponsoring role in “The Kidney
Kabaret,” an April benefit for Janet Paone, a kidney transplant recipient who
plays the role of Mrs. Lars Snustad in the popular musical comedy “The
Church Basement Ladies—A Second Helping.”
Efforts to end hunger are also major recipients of Thrivent supplemental
funds. That can range from international efforts such as Feed My Starving
Children to local efforts such as Empty Bowls.
An example of on-going hunger-related activities locally is support for the
food pantry at VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People) in Bloomington by
several congregations. Susan Freeman of VEAP said, “Lutheran congregations
are among the 61 churches we rely on for support here at VEAP, and several
of the Lutheran congregations take advantage of supplemental funds made
available through Thrivent. This kind of support expands what we are able to
do through our programs, including the largest food pantry in the Twin
Cities. VEAP serves people in Bloomington, Edina, Richfield, and south
Minneapolis from our facility located in Bloomington.”
There’s a saying that goes like this, “When Thrivent does well, Thrivent does
good in the community.” As the largest fraternal benefit society in the U.S.,
Thrivent gives in a variety of ways. Thrivent chapters are largely involved in a
program called Care Abounds in Communities which focuses on activities in
the community. In that phase of its giving programs, Thrivent Financial
provides funding to members who form community service teams to conduct
fund-raising activities and/or hands-on service activities in the community.
There’s also a program called Care in Congregations which focuses giving on
efforts within Lutheran congregations. But, some congregations haven’t
named congregational coordinators and aren’t eligible to make a request for
funds. Joy Peterson of Lutheran Community Services said that the availability
of funds to local churches is based on congregational involvement.
In addition to chapter charitable activities outlined above, Thrivent is involved
in a number of other causes including Thrivent Builds with Habitat for
Humanity. Thrivent contributed $1,201,380 to support home-building
projects in the Twin Cities area in 2007. Members contributed an additional
$166,397 and committed 49,365 volunteer hours to build 10 homes.
Thrivent Builds will have volunteer groups working on 10 homes in the Twin
Cities area again in 2008. Those home sites include three in St. Paul, one in
Savage, four units of an eight-plex in Ramsey, one home in Monticello and
one unit of a twin home in Hutchinson. This home-building program is part
of a four-year, multi-million dollar partnership with Habitat for
Humanity and involves sites throughout the U.S. as well as some foreign
countries.
Through Thrivent Builds, Thrivent provides 65 percent of the cost of
homebuilding projects while local congregations contribute the remainder.
As a fraternal benefit society, Thrivent operates as a not-for-profit
organization that distributes proceeds from its operations in lieu of paying
conventional corporate taxes. Thrivent’s support goes to communities,
congregations, and individuals in need.
Those who are interested in knowing more about the volunteer and gifting
programs of Thrivent should contact their congregational coordinators. Or, if
their congregation doesn’t have coordinators, encourage the congregation to
become involved. More information is available at www.thrivent.com.