The Gifts of Grace program continues to work toward increasing financial wellbeing in our synod.
Educational Loan Reduction Grant
One significant impact of the program has been in reducing the educational debt that rostered ministers have acquired in answering their call to rostered ministry. The Grant to Reduce Educational Loans is offering up to $4,000 this year, the largest amount we have made available to date. So far, we eleven rostered ministers have applied for this grant. We hope you will apply if you are a rostered minister under call in our synod and have college or seminary loans that were taken out in pursuit of your call.
Applications can be found online and will be received through November 6—but don’t delay. Tend to your financial wellbeing today! If you have any questions about this grant, please contact our Gifts of Grace coordinator – Pr. Andrew Hermodson-Olsen, [email protected]
This is also the year that the federal government opened a temporary window for rostered ministers to possibly receive Public Service Loan Forgiveness. That window closes in October. We have several rostered ministers working to be accepted for loan forgiveness and we wish them well. Lutheran Social Services Financial Counselling has been assisting in pursuit of loan forgiveness and can still be contacted if you have questions about this.
Retirement Readiness Grant
We encourage our rostered ministers to prepare for their retirement by adding to their retirement account with pre-tax dollars. To incentivize this, Gifts of Grace offers a grant to match up to $600 of pre-tax dollars contributed by a rostered minister to their retirement plan. Your $600, plus the match, could be worth $10,000 in 30 years. If you have not started investing pre-tax dollars for retirement, you can start right away for 2022 at the Portico site, or, when you do your annual enrollment with Portico in the fall, you can begin it in 2023. Then apply for your matching grant to add to your retirement savings.
If you are in a part-time call or paid at or below 90% of our synod’s guidelines, you can also apply for a retirement readiness grant and receive an $800 grant. This does not have to be matched. It is an acknowledgement that in your situation, contributions to your retirement are less than a full-time person receiving guidelines compensation.
In 2021, we distributed 24 total grants: 15 grants for matching contributions, 1 as an equity grant, and 8 applicants received both the matching funds and the equity grants.
Applications can be found online and will be received through November 6—but don’t delay. Tend to your financial wellbeing today! Please direct any questions to our Gifts of Grace coordinator – Pr. Andrew Hermodson-Olsen, [email protected]
Through the Medical Expense Grant, Gifts of Grace seeks to help assist rostered ministers when medical costs run unexpectedly high. It can be used to help pay for any physical or mental health bills for anyone in the rostered minister’s immediate family. This grant is open year-round. You are encouraged to apply before you pay your medical bill, so the grant can be paid directly to the medical provider, thereby minimizing the tax impact. So far this year, 11 rostered ministers in our synod have applied to receive up to $1,500 of their medical bills paid. You can find the application online.
Please direct any questions to our Gifts of Grace coordinator – Pr. Andrew Hermodson-Olsen, [email protected]