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Joining hands in the community

Greeting people at an event at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, TX
Jared Lyons, interim director of Intercollegiate Athletics, and Thrivent's Kirsten Ford, right, meet people at an event at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas.
Inti St. Clair

Thrivent and other nonprofits build bridges to change lives

Empowering generosity in local communities helps people make the most of all they’ve been given by God. That’s why Thrivent and nonprofits regularly join hands to help meet needs in communities across the country. These relationships are not only mutually beneficial, but they also allow these important organizations to find their definition of financial clarity.

“We want to help more people answer questions in their life around money,” says Peter Rose-Kamprath, director of engagement at Thrivent. “We’re trying to grow our organization, our reach into the community. And that’s what nonprofits do, too. So, we’re learning how we can help each other.”

It’s also what Christians do, he adds, citing Hebrews 13:16a, which says: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others.”

“Ultimately, we’ve found that communities are strengthened when people have financial clarity and when they come together to support and serve each other,” Rose-Kamprath says.

Yet, according to Thrivent’s 2022 Consumer Financial Outlook Survey,* people aren’t feeling confident about their finances.

  • 59% of Americans currently feel like they are living paycheck to paycheck, leaving little to no room for building their savings.
  • People are concentrating more on short-term financial goals, such as increasing income and their emergency savings, which may come at the expense of long-term goals such as retirement savings and creating a financial strategy. 
  • There appears to be a knowledge/behavior gap, meaning that while many people understand what they need to do to improve their financial well-being, few are acting on those behaviors.
Ultimately, we’ve found that communities are strengthened when people have financial clarity and when they come together to support and serve each other.
Peter Rose-Kamprath, Director of engagement at Thrivent

Having a financial strategy and guidance from a financial advisor can help people find financial clarity. This is where Thrivent and our nonprofit partners come in, says Lisa Warren, director of engagement at Thrivent.

“When people are secure financially, they are able to be more generous to the causes they care most about,” Warren says. “The beauty of Thrivent is that we’re not just granting dollars; we’re encouraging our members to make an impact. We unleash the passion and potential of our clients in their local communities, both in the support of financial clarity that our financial advisors can bring and in the hands-on volunteering and multiplying of generosity from our clients’ financial giving.
 
Read on for a sampling of stories that showcase how Thrivent engagement team members and financial advisors are working alongside nonprofit organizations to create opportunities for people to help achieve financial clarity, enabling lives of meaning and gratitude.

Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas: Partnering with college students

More than 80% of the student population at Huston-Tillotson University (HT) in Austin, Texas, are first-generation college students who likely didn’t have the opportunity to learn financial literacy at home or in school, says Dr. Monique Carroll, former athletics director at HT. The resources just weren’t available.

“Many of our students need to learn about budgets, loans and other financial necessities before they get out into the workforce,” says Carroll, who now serves as athletics director at Chicago State University.

Enter the Thrivent Member Network–Texas Region and its ongoing efforts to create financial equity in the community for local Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their students. Thrivent engagement leaders and financial advisors led the way, starting in Spring 2020, partnering with various departments on campus to offer financial education, internships and other activities.

In one example, a social justice internship provides a stipend to student workers, with the help of a Thrivent contribution, as they get hands-on training.

Another is a series of financial literacy educational opportunities for student athletes led by Jeff Sauer, a Thrivent financial advisor in Austin.
 
“In my experience, financial literacy is not taught, and it’s not talked about in families,” Sauer says. “My hope is that these students starting life in this chaotic world can have the financial literacy skills they need to succeed. It’s near and dear to my heart that no matter your socioeconomic status, you have the tools to make the best decisions.”

One session included a hands-on activity that highlighted the challenges of debt. Another session brought in a guest speaker who paid a penalty for an action taken as a youth. “We talk about how a quick decision can change the course of your life,” Sauer says.

HT baseball and softball players teamed up with Thrivent for a Miracle League event, playing alongside children and adults with physical and mental disabilities.

“We are grateful for the intentionality of the partnership with Thrivent,” Carroll says, with hope that a similar partnership can happen in her new role. “I appreciate it’s not just a check that Thrivent offers but that it is a true partnership with an organization with similar values, and one with whom we can see a path forward together.”

Mike Walker from SERVE 6.8 and Thrivent wealth advisor Clint Jasperson

SERVE 6.8, Northern Colorado: Mobilizing and connecting churches to needs

Mike Walker founded SERVE 6.8 a decade ago as a network in Northern Colorado to mobilize, resource and connect local churches to help them respond to local, regional and national needs. Those can include anything from food insecurity and legal assistance to help with rent or utility bills. SERVE 6.8 also provides feet on the ground during natural disasters, as well as a web platform and expertise that helps flow the dollars raised during a crisis to local churches providing assistance.

“It’s a model of biblical generosity that is compelling to everyone,” says Walker, SERVE 6.8 executive director. “When people see the church impacting the community in a privatized way, and they see neighbors helping neighbors in an authentic way, they want to be a part of it.”

Clint Jasperson, Thrivent wealth advisor in Windsor, Colorado, got involved when his family adopted two families through a SERVE 6.8 Christmas program at his church a few years ago. “I immediately saw the impact and the seeds being planted that could change the course of these families’ lives,” he says.

Jasperson began to talk to Walker about how Thrivent could come alongside with its financial and generosity tools, fitting into the framework SERVE 6.8 already had in place. He was inspired to join the organization’s board of directors.

“Clint is passionate about biblical stewardship,” Walker says. “He talks with people about their vision of using what God has given them—not just in retirement but also in generosity.”

It started with eligible Thrivent clients leading Thrivent Action Teams and directing Thrivent Choice Dollars®. The Thrivent Member Network–Rocky Mountain Region helped amplify the impact with activities like local food drives. Jasperson has provided guidance and recommended Thrivent financial programs such as Money Canvas, which helps people build healthier budgeting, spending and saving habits, to both clients and volunteers with SERVE 6.8.

“SERVE 6.8 lives how powerful relationships can be in transforming another person’s life,” Jasperson says. “People need to know you care before they care about what you know.”

People gathering for a seminar in the Thrivent Hub at the Urban League in St. Louis.

Urban League of Metro St. Louis: Opening doors to economic empowerment

The mission of Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis is to empower African Americans and others in securing economic self-reliance, social equality and civil rights.

“With its focus on financial empowerment and education, Urban League is a natural fit for a partnership with Thrivent,” says Adam Caldwell, market director for Thrivent in the Heartland Advisor Group that serves St. Louis.

As part of the relationship the two organizations are building, the local Thrivent region, with the support of the Thrivent Member Network– Heartland Region, opened a drop-in office called the Thrivent Hub. It’s located on the second floor of the new headquarters for Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. Thrivent financial advisors and engagement team members are available to answer financial questions from Urban League clients and community members, build relationships and provide information about the educational and generosity activities Thrivent offers, Caldwell says.

“We want it to be a comfortable place where people can simply drop in,” says Michael McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metro St. Louis. “Thrivent has really become our partner, doing exceptional work in taking the financial empowerment model and giving access to our clients, who desperately need the knowledge and understanding of how to process and help grow their personal and professional financial wealth.”

In just a few short months, a growing number of Urban League clients and staff members have stopped in at the Thrivent Hub. “It takes time to build trust and relationships,” Caldwell says.

The work is part of a comprehensive plan developed by Thrivent’s engagement team in the region that includes both financial education and community impact activities. For example, Thrivent plans to introduce Money Canvas as well as Finance 101 conversations and other educational opportunities. At a recent Urban League Expo, more than 60 people expressed interest in Money Canvas.

“Personally, as someone who has been involved for 35 years with Urban League, I see the value of the economic empowerment work in the community,” McMillan says. “Adding Thrivent as a partner that focuses on finances and generosity, I believe, will be transformational for individuals. It’s about being better at building bridges for people to come together and learn from each other.”

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How can Thrivent help you make a difference

Thrivent offers you a variety of ways to get involved and give back to your favorite nonprofit. Consider the following:

  • Donate: You can make a personal donation through Thrivent’s online giving platform to any of the more than 45,000 churches and nonprofits in the Thrivent Choice® catalog. Thrivent pays the processing fees, so your entire donation goes to your cause.

  • Designate: If you are an eligible Thrivent client with membership, you can direct Choice Dollars® to a favorite organization.

  • Nominate: Thrivent clients with membership can nominate churches and nonprofit organizations for enrollment in the Thrivent Choice program. Enrollment allows organizations to receive donations through Thrivent’s online giving platform.

Learn about these opportunities and more to help you live generously.

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*Methodology
This general population research was conducted in partnership with data intelligence company Morning Consult and polled 2,221 adults across the country between May 9 and 17, 2022. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of nationally representative adults based on age, gender, ethnicity, income and geography. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points.

Member benefits, programs and activities are not guaranteed contractual benefits. You should never purchase or retain any insurance or annuity products simply to be able to participate. Participation is subject to applicable Terms and Conditions.

The Thrivent Choice® charitable grant program engages Thrivent clients with Membership and Thrivent Member Networks in providing grants that support charitable activities, furthering Thrivent’s mission and its purposes under state law. All grant decisions, including grant recipients and amounts, are made at the sole discretion of Thrivent. Directing Choice Dollars® is subject to the program’s terms and conditions available at thrivent.com/thriventchoice.


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