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.
Please read the following two grants that are available.
Ministerial Excellence Fund / Grant for Reduction of Student Educational Loans / 2017
To assist our pastors by providing a principal payment on an education loan incurred in pursuing their education to become pastors.
Guidelines and Expectations
- Grant recipients must be serving in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod. Pastors in both full-time and part-time calls are eligible.
- Application may be made from October 7 – December 15, 2017
- Grant recipients are required to meet with a financial counselor (such as with LSS or Portico) to conduct what we regard as a financial wellness check-up each year they receive a grant. The meeting may focus on areas most appropriate to the pastor’s situation, such as household budgeting, debt reduction, student loans options, savings etc. This financial check-up will be provided at no cost to grant recipients. (Change from 2016 application: This year we ask recipients to submit to the synod office evidence of completion of this financial wellness check-up.)
- Grant recipients will notify their congregations that they have received this grant and will invite them to participate in the financial assistance of their pastors by contributing to the MEF. (Grant recipients will be given a script to help make this invitation and a follow-up letter will be sent to the congregation encouraging their support of the MEF.) Pastors do not need to reveal the specifics of their educational indebtedness, only that they have received this grant. It is our desire that congregations will become more aware of the issue of educational debt among pastors, but they do not need to know the specifics of your debt.
- Grant recipients are encouraged to participate in appropriate education programs and events hosted by SW MN Synod or other organizations to increase financial literacy.
- Personal information on identity and call.
- Information on the education loan.
- Reflection on the potential impact of the grant.
Even though this grant is paid directly to the company that holds your loan, the IRS regards this type of assistance as taxable income for the recipient. You will be asked to submit a form W-9 to the synod office and the synod office will issue a 1099 for the year you receive the grant (in this case, for 2018). Grant recipients need to be aware that this grant will increase the amount of taxes paid and are encouraged to prepare for it by working with your tax advisor or accountant.
Allocation of this grant will be made in January 2018.
Please complete and submit application by NO LATER than DECEMBER 15, 2017Ministerial Excellence Fund / Grant for Unexpected Medical Expense / 2017
To assist pastors serving 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 pastor or a pastor’s immediate family member for unexpected illnesses or medical treatments incurred in 2017.
- Pastor must be serving in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod.
- One grant per family for up to $1,000.
- Applications may be made from July 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017, or until the funds designated for 2017 are gone. When a complete application is received (application and document of evidence), the application will be considered.
- The grant amount is the same regardless of full-time and part-time statuses.
- Application will be reviewed and approved by the Ministerial Excellence Fund review team (Pastor Kathryn Skoglund, Pastor Erik Karlson, Mort Meyenburg).
- The total amount designated for 2017 disbursement is $10,000. A new round of these grants will be offered in 2018.
- Personal information on identity and illness/treatment.
- Either (a) a copy of the “Explanation of Benefits” page from your insurance company showing the charge(s) in the year for which you are applying, or (b) 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 copy of a bill or bills will be needed if you would like the grant paid directly to the medical provider. (See Tax Implications)
The applicant may decide how the grant is to be distributed, to the pastor or to the medical provider. There are different tax consequences between these two choices.
- A grant paid to the pastor will be regarded as taxable income by the IRS. You will submit a form W-9 to us, and we will issue a 1099 to you.
- A grant sent directly to the medical provider to pay a medical bill 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 pastor.
- 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 as the applicant has indicated, either directly to the pastor or to the medical provider.
Ministerial Excellence Fund / Grant for Retirement Equity / 2017
The 2017 application is closed. An application for 2018 will open on March 1, 2018.
Ministerial Excellence Fund / Retirement Contribution Challenge / 2017
The 2017 application is closed. An application for 2018 will open on November 6, 2017.
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 leader 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 leaders must have completed this year’s Annual Rostered Leader Report to the Bishop.
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 Carla Klawitter 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).
Seminary Tuition Scholarships
These scholarships are available from the synod’s endowment for seminary scholarships, individual gifts, and the ELCA Fund for Leaders endowments, including funds from the synod, Trinity (Chandler) and Marble (Hendricks) Lutheran Churches, Lutheran Men in Mission, and Green Lake Lutheran Ministries. Applications are received in the Spring for distribution in the next academic year.
1) Enrolled at an ELCA seminary;
2) Have a positive entrance decision through the ELCA candidacy process (or in progress), pursuing ordained or rostered lay ministry in the ELCA; and
3) Academic excellence.
Students may be full- or part-time. Traditional, distance learning, and TEEM candidates are all eligible to apply.
“Equip Grants” are grants supported by our Embrace God’s Mission + Equip God’s People Funding Initiative. These grants will empower and equip God’s people for God’s work. Equip Grants will change periodically and offer a variety of learning opportunities in our three main areas of the Funding Initiative, Deepen Congregational Vitality, Enhance Local and Global Mission, and Develop Servant Leaders.
How to apply:
- Seek support and approval by your pastor; if you are a rostered minister, seek support and approval from your synod minister. Please download the grant informational PDF below, fill out the sign-off portion, and send to the synod office.
- To fill out online application, click here.
Equip Grants available now:
- Teens in Mission (TIM) Team, click here for grant information and sign-off.
To learn more about TIM Team click here. This link will take you to the camp webpage.
- Luther Seminary School for Lay Ministry Course, click here for grant information and sign-off.
To learn more about Luther Seminary’s School for Lay Ministry click here. This link will take you to the Luther Seminary website, Lifelong Learning, Kairos.
CEU credits are available upon request for all grants.
How to get reimbursed:
- Please submit your receipt or registration confirmation to Carla Klawitter at email@example.com or SW MN Synod, Attn: Carla Klawitter, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283. Also, include who should be reimbursed with contact information.