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(originally published November 4th, 2020)

Volunteer Coordinator Ginny Brown and her husband George support Family Promise as Thrivent members. We asked them to explain how Thrivent works.

What is Thrivent and How Did You Become a Member?

Thrivent started as “Aid Association for Lutherans”, primarily offering insurance with a focus on helping congregations serve others in their communities. In 2014, the focus changed when AAL and Lutheran Brotherhood (similar organization) merged to create Thrivent Financial. In order to best serve clients, the organization rebranded this past year to become “Thrivent.”

Thrivent and its clients feel giving back is important, so Thrivent provides tools and resources for members to take action — and create impact within their community or congregation. They provide generosity programs to make this happen. They support as a corporation, but also provide money for members to “host” events/actions to benefit others.

George and I have life insurance policies we took out early in our marriage. Anyone who purchases a product with Thrivent can apply to become a “member”. They publish and mail a magazine highlighting what “action teams” have done to help individuals, and organizations in their communities in addition to Thrivent news.

How does being a Thrivent member allow you to help non-profit organizations?

Depending on the products owned by the member and class of membership, a member can head up a designated amount of Thrivent Action Teams a year. On their website they have a page to apply and if accepted, the leader receives a $250 VISA card to be used to purchase supplies to host an event that supports others. George and I have used ours for VBS at our church, new member potluck, purchase groceries for members to use to provide meals to shut-ins, supplies before our first FP host week, foods, plates, etc. before a FP volunteer thank you at Reformation, purchased replacement supplies for FP hosting, advertising and foods for volunteers helping with annual rummage sale for FP, etc.

What is Thrivent Choice?

Benefit members (clients who applied and purchased a qualifying Thrivent insurance or annuity product, like disability income or life insurance) are eligible for Choice Dollars®. Based on the “value” of policies with Thrivent, the member receives an annual amount that they may designate to support an organization that has been set up with Thrivent. The list of charities comes from members and non-profits who apply to be eligible for choice dollars. Family Promise of Waukesha County (probably still Western W) is on the list. When a member receives notice that they have monies available they log into their account and mark the organization they want to receive the benefits. We have small policies, so our checks are only $10 – 20.

Any eligible member may apply to head an action team. The idea is not for Thrivent to just hand out money. They want organization members to work together to help others. The $250 Visa action card (seed money) may not be given directly to a person, group or organization. One example when this could have been used is to create a “team” when we cleaned the new Day Center. The money could have paid for food for volunteers, supplies, yard spray, window cleaner, etc.

Why would you recommend that Thrivent members provide assistance to Family Promise of Waukesha County?

Using “Choice dollars” is the easiest way to help FP. It takes only minutes in the comfort of one’s home to share Christ’s love by making a difference in the lives of others in need.

Heading an action team is also easy, but does require filling out forms and keeping documentation of expenses in a timely manner. Again, for just a small amount of effort, people are able to work together with friends, acquaintances or others who support FP. The rewards of helping others by providing something needed by trained professionals is much larger than the small amount of time and effort. It is a joy and privilege to share our time and talents with others.

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