From raising her family to helping others, Thrivent client Nancy Clarke strives to live with purpose.
Nancy Clarke has helped build homes in British Columbia, Nicaragua and Zambia. And in the past 20 years, she’s been to Tanzania six times, serving on projects that have helped construct a school and a hostel. She’s thinking about one more trip to Tanzania in 2024.
“I love to travel, but it’s so much more meaningful to me if I can travel with a purpose,” says Clarke, 82, a Thrivent client from Santa Rosa, California. “These all have been such fabulous experiences. I can’t go up on scaffolding or the roof, but there’s always something I can do.”
While the home building trips were through the
“Every day I get a message from someone in Tanzania,” Clarke says. “I have a wonderful family there.”
Clarke’s passion for giving is lifelong. Growing up in Queens, New York, she recalls playing games with children at a nearby orphanage. “I grew up in a family that didn’t have a lot of money, but we were grateful for what we had.”
Those early experiences led her to a 40-year career as a licensed clinical social worker. She worked with a variety of people in need of support: psychiatric patients, developmentally disabled adults and prisoners.
Clarke and her late husband, Mel, raised their two children in California, where he served in the U.S. Army. She worked part-time when the children were young, enabling her to be there for school and church activities.
Giving back always has been a family value. Clarke recalls tithing with cash when her children were too young to understand checks. Today, her adult children help her select charities and projects to bless through a
Clarke values the guidance of Thrivent Wealth Advisor Yvonne Madson with her finances and invited her to speak at her church about charitable giving options.
“I never desired a lot of money, and I don’t need a lot,” Clarke says. “Yvonne helps take the worry out of it for me.”
2022 at a glance
How did you first learn about Thrivent?
It was through the financial professional at our church. I knew I was never going to be wealthy, but the little I did have, I wanted to put to good use. I liked that money was used to help the community, not line a stockbroker’s pocket. For example, when Relay for Life wanted to sponsor a team at my church, [Thrivent] sponsored it. When I finished my 25th year with Relay, we had raised $600,000.
What’s your first memory of money?
We always went to Sunday School and had an envelope for an offering. There were four of us kids. We never had much, but our parents taught us to save, giving us 5 cents a month to put into the bank.
What are your guiding principles around money decisions?
I pray about how to use my money, and I discuss money with my family, especially my kids. I also discuss money with Yvonne. She always helps me come up with good solutions.
What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?
Just buy what you can afford. I was a Depression child. My husband and I tried not to finance anything beyond the house and car. I don’t like interest rates and finance charges.
What’s your favorite volunteer activity?
Most of my activities are involved with my church, even my volunteer work in Tanzania. I do my two
How do you demonstrate gratitude?
I express my gratitude with thank-you cards and visits. I also start and end each day thanking God for my health, family and home. I try not to take anything for granted.
What does it mean to thrive with purpose?
It’s to be thankful, share with others and stay healthy so that I can continue doing as much as I am able as long as I live. I don’t want to just thrive; I want to live with purpose.