Living well is a personal journey that presents each of us with unique opportunities to steward our gifts in all dimensions of our lives. The following grants are to assist you in your journey.
These grants are inspired by the Portico Benefit Services’ Wholeness Wheel. Wellness is multi-dimensional — made up of spiritual, vocational, intellectual, emotional, physical, social, and financial dimensions of well-being. Spiritual well-being is intertwined with and influences our well-being in all other dimensions.
Ministerial Excellence Fund / Grant for Unexpected Medical Expenses
To assist rostered minister in our synod who are experiencing the high financial costs of an unexpected medical crisis in their family.
Grant application may be made on behalf of the rostered minister or a minister’s immediate family member for unexpected illnesses, medical treatments, or mental health counseling incurred in 2017, 2018, or 2019.
- The rostered minister must be serving in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod.
- One grant per family per year for up to $1,000. Past grant recipients may apply for a new grant in 2019.
- Applications may be made anytime during the year. Completed applications (application and document of evidence) will be reviewed and processed after the 21st of each month.
- The grant amount is the same regardless of full-time or part-time status.
- Applications will be reviewed and grants decided by the Ministerial Excellence Fund Review Team (Pastor Kathryn Skoglund, Pastor Erik Karlson, Mort Meyenburg).
- Because of the generosity of both the supporters of the MEF and the Lilly Endowment, this is not a competitive grant. This means that a rostered minister who receives a grant is not keeping another rostered minister from receiving a grant.
- Personal information on identity and illness/treatment.
- A copy of the billing from a medical provider related to the illness/treatment. Multiple documents of evidence may be submitted to show charges up to the $1,000 limit of the grant.
- A completed W-9 (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf) if grant is paid to the applicant. (See Tax Implications)
The applicant may decide how the grant is to be distributed, either to the pastor or to the medical provider. There are different tax consequences between these two choices.
- If the grant is paid to the rostered minister, it is regarded as taxable income by the IRS. You will submit a form W-9 to us with your application, and we will issue a 1099 to you at the end of the year.
- If the grant is sent directly to the medical provider to pay a medical bill, it is not considered taxable income by the IRS.
If your medical bill has been turned over to a collection agency, we will issue the grant to the rostered minister.
Allocation will be made once the MEF review team has approved the application, which will be done within 30 days of receipt. The grant will be paid out as the applicant has indicated, either directly to the pastor or to the medical provider.
Ministerial Excellence Fund / Retirement Readiness Grant 2020
The Gifts of Grace program is pleased to offer a grant for rostered ministers paid below guidelines and to those rostered ministers who are making personal contributions to their retirement account. It will be open from April 1 – October 15, 2020. More information will be shared through the Synod News this coming February and March.
Ministerial Excellence Fund / Grant for Reduction of Student Educational Loans / 2018
The Gifts of Grace program is pleased to offer a grant for rostered ministers who have personal loans from pursuing their degrees to become rostered in the ELCA. It will be open for application from April 1 – October 15, 2020. More information will be shared through the Synod News this coming February and March.
Endowment Fund Mission Statement
Empower and support the congregations of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA enabling growth in Christian faith and service to God’s people.
Focus of the 2020 grant program
The Southwestern Minnesota Synod Endowment Fund grant program for 2020 is looking for projects in the following areas: Community Outreach, Youth Activities, and Special Mission projects. These grants are intended for new initiatives or for significant expansions of existing programs to serve new people. We are particularly interested in proposals that involve partnerships with other faith communities and organizations in the community.
Congregations of the SW MN Synod, as well as Campus Ministries, are invited to apply.
The Endowment Committee will consider requests in any amount, subject to available funds.
- July 1, 2019 -Application must be received.
- October 15, 2019 -Applicants will be informed if the Committee has approved or denied the proposal on or before this date.
- November 30, 2019 -Successful applicants return signed agreement form by this date.
- January 1, 2020 -Funds will be available for distribution.
Granted funds must be used for the planned project by November 30, 2020.
Final accounting and a report is due 60 days following the completion of the project event(s). A form will be supplied for this purpose. The report must be or include a short article about your mission project with photos to share in our SW MN Synod online e-newsletter.
For more information, please contact:
Pr. Stephen W. Cook
SW MN Synod Minister
Endowment Committee Members:
Anthony Christoffels, Circle of Faith Parish, Welcome
Chuck Engebretson, Celebration Lutheran, Sartell
Caren Johnson, Our Savior’s Lutheran, Montevideo
Steve Jou,l Celebration Lutheran, Sartell
Gary Olson, American Lutheran, Windom
Wendy Seefeld,t Gethsemane Lutheran, Dassel
Lori Wold, Trinity Lutheran, Boyd
There is one equip grant available at this time.
RECHARGE Equip Grant
RECHARGE is a one-day multi-denominational conference to inspire and equip church staff and their volunteers serving in children’s, youth and family ministry.
Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020
8:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Bethel University, Twin Citites
Click here for more information
To register for Recharge you have two options:
1. Contact Jenni Thorpe at Jenni.Thorpe@bethelinwillmar.org or call (320) 235-5450 with the name of your congregation, and the names and number of those attending by November 26. Jenni will buy the early bird group rate tickets for $44, you’ll reimburse her church, Bethel Lutheran Church and then the synod will reimburse you up to $50 per person after you’ve attended the event.
2. Register on your own at individual, group rate, early bird or regular registration prices. The synod will reimburse you up to $50 per person after you’ve attended the event.
After you have attended the event, please fill out the online grant application.
1) Enrolled at an ELCA seminary;
2) A candidate of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA, pursuing rostered ministry in the ELCA; and
3) A student in good standing.
Students may be full- or part-time. Traditional, distance learning, TEEM, and other non-traditional candidates are eligible to apply.
Wellness grants are available for up to a maximum of $250 per eligible person each fiscal year for the purpose of encouraging activities that focus on health and wellness. Grant funds are limited and are not automatically awarded, except for the specific items that are listed as examples. Each person who is rostered in the SW MN Synod and serves as a non-retired, rostered minister in a part-time or full-time call in the synod is eligible for the grants. Paid, non-rostered staff members who serve in a congregation or synodical office setting in the synod AND who have Portico Benefit Services health insurance are also eligible. All rostered minister must have completed this year’s Annual Rostered Leader Report to the Bishop to receive a grant.
Wellness grants are available to be used for a variety of ways of stewarding your health as leaders:
- Spiritual (spiritual direction sessions, attend a spiritual-centered retreat)
- Vocational (vocational building books for staff/council, staff development retreat and/or facilitator expenses, sabbatical support)
- Intellectual (attending a formal continuing education event—tuition, housing, mileage, travel)
- Emotional (counseling sessions, life coach sessions, attend a retreat for renewal)
- Physical (exercise equipment for home gym or church group, exercise classes, resources or programs)
- Social (Pastor-2-Pastor, Family Camp)
You must submit a receipt for reimbursement. Please send receipt to Maggie Berggren at firstname.lastname@example.org or SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283.
$400 Wellness Dollars Incentives for ELCA-Primary Health Plan Members
Login to your MyPortico account to earn up to $400 in Wellness Dollars, which will be deposited into your personal wellness account, legally a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), or a health savings account (HSA).