LWR Achieves $2.5 Million Goal for Matching Grant

An agency acting on behalf of U.S. Lutherans, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod announced yesterday the successful achievement of a $2.5 million goal for a 1:1 matching grant from a not-for-profit Fortune 500 financial services organization helping 2.8 million members achieve their financial goals.

According to Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Thrivent Financial for Lutherans had established a $2.5 million grant on Dec. 28, 2004 to match gifts by its members to LWR's Wave of Giving campaign to assist tsunami survivors—providing needed resources and connecting millions of Thrivent members to LWR and its on-going work. Thrivent Financial also awarded LWR a $1 million grant for its relief and rehabilitation efforts in the affected region.

Although Thrivent members had until Apr. 15 to reach the $2.5 million, the match was surpassed on Friday, Feb. 25—six weeks before the deadline—making for a combined total gift of $6 million.

"Our members are so giving, I'm not surprised they've reached this milestone well before the April 15 deadline," said Brad Hewitt, senior vice president of Fraternal Operations at Thrivent Financial. "By issuing the member-matching grant for LWR, we were able to multiply the good of our members. They want to support important causes and make an impact in our world. Thanks to their caring, tsunami survivors are being helped right now."

LWR president Kathryn Wolford expressed her ratitude, saying, "On behalf of the people we serve, we give thanks to Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and its members for this unprecedented outpouring of support."

"Our goal is to help communities fully rebuild and recover,” Wolford added, “and this support ensures that we address the consequences of the tsunami in ways that leave communities better organized and able to reduce the impact of future disasters or crises."

In addition to the devastation caused by the tsunami's massive waves, LWR reports that several of the affected areas have also experienced significant conflict. LWR announced that it will also program its assistance in ways that support peace building and non-violent means to resolve historic divisions.

The agency said it would keep its supporters informed about its program impact in South Asia through a special website, www.waveofgiving.org.