Enter a search term.
line drawing document and pencil

File a claim

Need to file an insurance claim? We’ll make the process as supportive, simple and swift as possible.

Action Teams

If you want to make an impact in your community but aren't sure where to begin, we're here to help.
Illustration of stairs and arrow pointing upward

Contact support

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Need to discuss a complex question? Let us know—we’re happy to help.
Use the search bar above to find information throughout our website. Or choose a topic you want to learn more about.

Reaching new heights in creating legacy opportunities

Thrivent client Barbara Wheeler of Green Bay, Wisconsin, (left) works with Thrivent's Ben Carr and Stacie Patchett on planning a legacy.

Barbara Wheeler wanted to create a legacy to honor her late husband’s passion for flying.

“Mike learned how to fly before he learned to drive,” says Wheeler, of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

He got his pilot’s license in high school, and went into the U.S. Army after graduation, where he learned to fly a helicopter. While in the Army, he earned his associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. He retired from the Army after 21 years, but he never stopped flying. He flew emergency medical services flights, and he flew for the joy of it. He was working for the Federal Aviation Administration in 2010 when he died doing what he loved most—flying.

Mike and Barbara had lived in New York, and when she retired in 2014, she moved to Wisconsin. Her son-in-law, who works for Thrivent, suggested she meet with a Thrivent financial advisor to discuss her financial strategy.

She sat down with Stacie Patchett, Thrivent financial associate, and Ben Carr, Thrivent financial advisor, to talk about her financial investments. Her late husband had left Barbara well-positioned financially. The financial advisors worked with Barbara to create a tax-efficient strategy that could enable her to be comfortable in retirement, while honoring her wishes to leave a legacy to her daughter, Erin, and grandson Roman.

“After updating her plan, she still had additional cash she wasn’t going to need,” Carr says. “It was clear from our conversations that legacy was important to Barbara, and it went beyond what she wanted to pass on to the next generations.”

That’s when they began talking about setting up a donor-advised fund to continue the work Mike was passionate about.

Patchett connected with Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing® and Embry-Riddle, Mike’s alma mater. Together they explored options for how the dollars could be used to touch potential future aviators. Covering the expenses of weeklong camps for teens interested in flying jumped to the top of the list.

“This was near and dear to Mike’s heart,” Patchett says.

The donor-advised fund, set up in 2019, provides for two teens each summer to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Flight Exploration Summer Camp. While the COVID-19 pandemic caused a delay to the start of the scholarships, it didn’t hamper Barbara’s excitement.

Barbara’s full vision for the fund became reality in the summer of 2022. The first two students attended camp on the scholarships and learned about concepts such as ground safety, meteorology and careers in aeronautics. Both wrote Barbara letters of gratitude.

0:00 / 0:00
Video Companion
Charitable Strategies: Donor-Advised Funds

Learn more

Do you want to learn more about donor-advised funds and how one may work with your financial strategy? Talk to your Thrivent financial advisor or visit Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing.

The client’s experience may or may not be the same as other clients and does not indicate future performance or success.

Thrivent and its financial advisors and professionals do not provide legal, accounting or tax advice. Consult your attorney or tax professional.

Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing® is a public charity that serves individuals, organizations and the community through charitable planning, donor-advised funds and endowments. Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing works collaboratively with Thrivent and its financial advisors. It
is a separate legal entity from Thrivent, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.