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.
Endowment Tuition Scholarship
Deadline: Submit online application before 8:00 a.m. Thursday, May 16, 2019
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.
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
Ministerial Excellence Fund / Grant for Unexpected Medical Expenses – 2018
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 Contribution Challenge Grant / 2019
To challenge rostered minister serving in the synod to grow their contribution to their retirement savings by being personally invested.
Guidelines for Personal Contribution Increase
- Grant application may be made by a rostered minister for 2019 from November 1, 2018 to
March 31, 2019Extended to April 30, 2019
- Rostered minister must currently be serving in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod.
- To qualify, applicant’s place of service must have their 2019 Parochial Report (Forms A and C) turned in and the applicant must have submitted the 2019 Report to the Bishop.
- The grant amount is the same for both full-time and part-time statuses.
- The grant will reimburse a rostered minister 100% of an increased contribution to their retirement account up to $360/year.
- This grant intends to encourage a rostered minister to grow in their personal retirement contribution. If the rostered minister is already contributing to their retirement account, the rostered minister can still apply by showing an increase in that contribution after January 1, 2019. If, however, the rostered minister is already contributing the maximum amount allowed by law, she/he is not able to increase their contribution and therefore not eligible for this grant.
- A second grant is available to rostered minister who received this grant in 2018. If you maintain your 2018 increase for 2019, you can received 50% of what you were reimbursed last year. (If you made an additional increase in 2019, you are eligible to apply for both grants. So, for example, if in 2018 you increased your personal contribution by $200 and in 2019 you increased it another $200, you can apply to receive $300 back. This would be all of the 2019 increase and half of the 2018 increase.)
- Payment will be sent in a lump sum to the rostered minister.
- Application will be seen and award decided by the Ministerial Excellence Fund review team (Pastor Kathryn Skoglund, Pastor Erik Karlson, and Mort Meyenburg).
- Personal information on identity.
- Verification that you have increased the amount you personally contribute to your retirement account.
Since the rostered minister is receiving the grant, the grant is regarded as additional taxable income. Please plan accordingly in making your estimated tax payments. You will need to provide a form W-9 to the synod office, and a 1099 will be issued to the grant recipient.
Allocation of the reimbursement will be made to the rostered minister in June 2019.
To give rostered minister serving in the synod who are paid below our synod’s guidelines an opportunity to receive a payment to their retirement account so that their total current-year contribution to their retirement account is equal to what an employer’s contribution would be if they had received compensation at guidelines.
Guidelines for the Retirement Equity Grant:
- Grant application for 2019 may be made by a rostered minister from April 9, 2019 to July 31, 2019
- Rostered minister must be serving in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod on or before January 1, 2019.
- Applicants must have turned in their 2019 Parochial Report (Forms A & C) and Report to the Bishop to qualify.
- The grant will make up the difference between the annual retirement contribution to be paid in 2019 by the employer and the amount that would be paid if the rostered minister were receiving a compensation package at the SW Minnesota Synod guidelines for his/her years of experience.
- The contribution rate is 10% of defined compensation.Since a rostered minister’s defined compensation can vary, the standard calculation will be as follows:
|Base Salary (from the synod guidelines)||$40,000|
|+ Housing Allowance (30% of base salary)||$12,000|
|+ SSI Contribution (7.65% of base + housing)||$3,978|
|= Defined Compensation||$55,978|
This calculation will be used whether you are in a parsonage or receiving a housing allowance. It will be used even if you are not receiving an SSI contribution.
- Grant will be prorated for those with less than full-time calls.
- Application will be seen and approved by the Ministerial Excellence Fund review team.
- Personal information on identity and call status.
- Years of service which shall be defined by the ordination date plus half of the years in previous related vocation, if applicable.
- Reporting the compensation package approved by your employer.
- Information on the retirement account.
If you are a Portico member, the grant will be sent to Portico and deposited into your account.It is not regarded as additional taxable income for the pastor.If you have your retirement account in another company, we will attempt to directly deposit it into your account.If we are unable, we will issue the check to you and it will be taxable income and a 1099 will be issued.
Allocation will be made in October 2019.
Click here to apply!
Ministerial Excellence Fund / Grant for Reduction of Student Educational Loans / 2018
To assist our rostered minister by providing a principal payment on an education loan incurred in pursuing their education to become pastors and deacons.
Guidelines and Expectations
- Grant recipients must be serving in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod. Pastors and deacons in both full-time and part-time calls are eligible.
- Application may be made from October 15 – December 14, 2018
- 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.
- 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 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 2019). 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 2019.
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 Carla Klawitter at email@example.com 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).