In the 1990s, socially responsible investing became a new buzz phrase. It’s a great idea: when deciding where to invest, people should consider a business’s social and environmental impact as well as the financial rewards. That idea has taken hold and expanded to encompass where people spend and save their money as well. Do the companies you engage with every day reflect your values? Can you turn your dollars into good in the community?
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is fortunate that Thrivent Financial, which has sponsored and built nearly 100 Twin Cities Habitat homes over the years, shares this desire to see money both perform well on a balance sheet and create a positive impact in our community.
Thrivent is a membership organization of Christians. It is a fraternal benefit society that explicitly states part of its mission is to give back to the community where its members live. In 2013, Thrivent devoted $95 million dollars to charitable outreach – which included sponsoring 5 Twin Cities Habitat homes. Here are the 4 ways Thrivent approaches giving back:
1. Thrivent Builds Homes and Thrivent Builds Repairs
These programs have supported Habitat affiliates throughout the country since 2005. Here in the Twin Cities, Thrivent’s connection to Habitat goes back all the way to 1991 and each year local Thrivent chapters sponsor and build several more homes. This year they helped four families secure affordable housing in Coon Rapids, Crystal, St. Paul and Minneapolis. Customers know that by doing business with Thrivent, they’re helping very low income families find decent homes for their children.
2. Thrivent Choice®: A member-advised grant program
Thrivent works a little differently than most financial institutions. Eligible member-owners (those 16 and older who have Thrivent life insurance, health insurance or annuities or who participate in Thrivent Financial volunteer leadership) have input into where some of Thrivent’s philanthropic dollars go through the Thrivent Choice program.
Thrivent Choice is relatively new, but that doesn’t mean it’s small. Last year, member-owners helped direct $50 million in grants to communities across the country. Members recommend where some of Thrivent’s charitable dollars go through Voting Events and by directing Choice Dollars®.
Twin Cities Habitat became a Thrivent Choice participant affiliate last year. According to Laura Dierke, director of the program, support for Twin Cities Habitat started strong and momentum is growing: in a year and a half, Thrivent members have already directed over $13,000 Choice Dollars to TCHFH through this program.
3. Thrivent Action Teams
Laura says Action Teams are the newest way for members to “flex their generosity muscle” and make sure the causes they believe in get as much help as possible. All Thrivent members can create or join two charitable Action Teams each year, and apply for funding to help support the activities. For instance, Thrivent members might create an Action Team to make quilts for local Habitat families and request a grant to purchase materials.
Laura’s husband participated on one Action Team that helped fund a summer day camp for students that live in the city to learn about urban farming. His team got a grant of $250 for start-up costs and tee shirts for the campers from Thrivent. Seeing such direct results – kids excited about making a difference – really hit home. “The enthusiasm for Actions Teams is contagious,” Laura says. She expects this to become a very popular program.
4. Employee Giving Matching Program
Thrivent also matches its employees’ charitable giving. A lot of companies do this and you can find out if yours does, too. It really is a great way for an employee to help the company they work for be a socially responsible corporate citizen!
If you’re a Thrivent member and you aren’t already “maxing out” on ways you can support Habitat without personally increasing your donations, please consider the options that Thrivent offers. Right now only about one-third of eligible members take part in Thrivent Choice: this is your chance to make a big impact.
Thrivent members who want to learn more about Thrivent Choice and Action Teams can contact Mikeya Griffin, one of Thrivent’s Managers of Community Engagement, at 651-272-8686 or email@example.com
Insurance products issued or offered by Thrivent Financial, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Not all products are available in all states. Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Thrivent Investment Management Inc., 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, a FINRA and SIPC member and a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrivent. For additional important information, visit www.Thrivent.com/disclosures.