Thrivent: A Faith-Based Financial Organization Offers Members the Chance to Live Generously


Teach a man to fish. It is an old proverb with a long history and a well-debated origin; this is usually the case with any universal truth. Meeting an immediate need is important, but finding a way to also make a long-lasting impact is more significant.

Thrivent Wants Us to Live Generously

One unique faith-based financial services organization, Thrivent, embodies the guidance of this proverb. Thrivent offers guidance and resources to help their members be wise with money, to plan for their financial future, and to “live a more generous and fulfilling life.” They want to help their members become financially sound, but also give them the opportunity to reach out and make a difference to others.  The organization is backed by their shared faith and a strong belief that there are always “new ways to make your corner of the world a better place.”

“Anything that we can do to show love to others is part of the great mission we are,” says Nancy Nolley with the Greater Charlotte Group at Thrivent Financial. “That is the way it started in 1902, based on the need of the community. So, we are just very committed to always fulfilling that need. Our mission is to reach every family –not only to help them plan for their financial future, but for them to live generously.”

“Besides the fact that we are a faith-based organization, our mission is to reach out and touch the lives of people, through monetary avenues plus the action—we put feet to our words. What I want people to know is that yes, we are a faith-based financial-planning organization, but it is really about the community and about ‘you’ as an individual,” Nancy says.

The Unique Way Thrivent Practices School Outreach

“They have a unique approach to helping local schools in Charlotte, which includes a partnership with Operation Warm,” says Dr. Temeka Brantley, Community Partnerships at Operation Warm. “Thrivent selects a school to partner with for two years, which includes a two-phase process.”

Phase one is focused on supporting the children, which includes providing brand new coats through the partnership with Operation Warm. Phase two is focused on supporting the teachers through providing other resources.”

“These simple acts help with school culture and more,” says Temeka. “This is just one highlight of the many ways Thrivent is showing a commitment to helping in Charlotte and beyond.”

Coats for Kids Matches the Commitment to Serve

thrivent wrapped in loveWhen Thrivent approached Operation Warm about partnering with their members to help children in need, everyone involved was thrilled. “Thrivent has a true commitment to serving others and it is evident when you walk into their Charlotte office,” says Temeka. “The conference room is decorated with pictures highlighting their outreach. Operation Warm is proud to be part of the Thrivent mission.”

The Thrivent team was looking for the right project to support children at a local Title One school. “So, we had knocked around lots of ideas: fundraising coats, collecting coats at different churches—and then we found Operation Warm,” says Tammy Seiler, also with Thrivent, Charlotte. “So, it really changed our whole focus—Operation Warm being the place where you can easily order the coats—and Operation Warm has a great story. We decided we were going to partner, rather than try to do it all ourselves.”

“The thing about why we did choose Operation Warm and why we continue to, it is because that system is in place [OW’s excellent partner support]. It is a perfect system. There is not a lot that you have to create on your own.”

“As Nancy mentioned, our tag line is to live generously, so Thrivent and Operation Warm match up perfectly,” Tammy says.

The Joy and the Impact of a Thrivent Coat-Giving Event

“For me it was just seeing the joy on the children’s faces when they received a coat, in their size,” Nancy says. “So many times, children get hand-me-down coats from relatives or brothers and sisters. And most children don’t get a brand new coat, so for me it was just the joy of seeing them have a brand new coat, and to put on a coat that had their name on it.”

“They [the Thrivent team members] really love it. That is really why we are here in year three. I think the difference is the action. It is easy to give a coat. It is easy to give money. It is a whole other thing when you are putting the coat on a child and seeing their faces, as Nancy mentioned. To me that is a different way of giving,” Tammy says.

“I think another benefit [of the Operation Warm program] is these children have a need to belong,” says Nancy. “It is not just a coat, but we play games with them. And, on that special day they get one-on-one attention. I think that healthy for a growing child to feel like, for that one particular day, they don’t have to measure up to anyone else.”

“I think another piece is the larger school community,” says Tammy. “I think were we’ve also seen an impact is with the teachers. That we love on their kids, and that we support their kids. The support of the community, not only to the kids but also to the teachers is huge in this day and age.”

Nancy urges other organizations and businesses to get involved in giving brand new coats to kids in need. “We are only able to do one school, and I think about if it were broadcast where everyone knew about it, then maybe more than one school could be impacted. This is not so much about Thrivent, but letting other organizations and companies know that they can make a difference.”

Interested in providing brand new coats for kids in your community? We would love for you to join us as an Operation Warm Community Partner!

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