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Thrivent Donates $24M for '09 Habitat Homes

Amid economic difficulties and the mortgage crisis, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Habitat for Humanity announced Friday they will build more than 300 affordable homes for low-income families in 2009.

A total of $24 million will be donated to Habitat to build 314 homes in 37 states and the District of Columbia next year. And more than 225 local Habitat affiliates will build these homes alongside members of Thrivent Financial and other community volunteers.

Of the Thrivent fund, $1.7 million is committed to Gulfport, Miss., to construct 28 new homes there.

"Our work together in the Mississippi Gulf and across the United States aligns well with the values of Thrivent Financial and its members," said Brad Hewitt, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of Thrivent Financial, in a statement. "We are committed to offering our members programs that engage their hearts, impact communities and demonstrate the value of their membership."

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a non-profit financial services membership organization that provides nearly 3 million members a broad rang of financial products and services including life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, disability income insurance, bank products and more.

Leaders of Thrivent Builds said they are keenly aware of the extraordinary need for decent housing in the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, a $2.5 million commitment from Thrivent Financial resulted in 40 new "Thrivent Builds" homes in the Long Beach-Pascagoula-Biloxi area, with 30 completed by the year's end and 10 to be finished by the end of February 2009.

"The continuing commitment of Thrivent Financial to our ongoing need to build homes with those still in temporary housing will help us serve even more low-income families," added Chris Monforton, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"We are deeply grateful to Thrivent Financial and to its members who join us in this effort. The Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity alliance has truly made a heart-felt commitment to the Mississippi Gulf Coast."

The $24 million is the last installment of a four-year, $125 million alliance between the two non-profits with the goal to increase housing opportunities for low-income families. The alliance makes Thrivent Financial one of Habitat's largest single allies.

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people.

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