As donor Ronnie Schultz grew up on his parents farm in Battle Creek, Iowa–a town of 690–he treasured time with his family. At 18, Ronnie left for Midland University, where he met his wife, Marge. After Ronnie’s parents – Alvin and Marie–passed away, the couple inherited a farm. With Marge by his side, they explored opportunities to incorporate charitable giving into their inheritance.
“My parents worked very hard as farmers and we wanted to remember them in a special way,” Ronnie says. “We’ve been blessed with good jobs, good family and good faith – we were looking to recognize that they helped us get here,” Marge adds.
Motivated by the opportunity to commemorate Alvin and Marie, Ronnie and Marge set up The Alvin & Marie Memorial Fund.
Remembering mom & dad
To recognize Ronnie’s parents, the couple of 51 years supports St. John’s Lutheran Church–the ministry that Alvin and Marie were deeply devoted to as members and Sunday School teachers. They also support the City of Battle Creek and The Fellowship of Christian Farmers. “Since my parents were Christian farmers, it fits well,” Ronnie says.
Giving as a family unit
Ronnie and Marge also stay active in their giving journey by practicing generosity as a family, including their three grown children–Lisa, Loren and Christopher–to provide support to the charities they are passionate about. Drawing inspiration from the farm’s 160 acres, Ronnie and Marge contribute $16,000 to their fund each year and divide it across the four units that make up their family. This provides each child $4,000 that they can use to give to their favorite charities.
“We have everyone justify why they recommend their selected charities,” Marge says. “It’s really opened our eyes and has made us think more about giving. Our fund serves as a more meaningful purpose for who we give to and why.”
Their veteran son supports charities like Heroes on the Water, a nonprofit that provides veterans and their families access to no expense kayak fishing trips as an opportunity to relax, enjoy God’s creation and heal from post-war stress. Ronnie and Marge’s other son and his family, who live in Missouri, support Rainbow House, a children’s emergency shelter, as they have been foster parents and are now adoptive parents to their three daughters. The couple’s daughter, Lisa, supports Sammy Super Heroes, a charity started by a family friend that helps raise awareness of all types of childhood cancer.
“It’s not just naming charities,” Marge says. “It’s partnering with Thrivent to give to organizations that are making a difference, sharing our blessings and doing the research as a family to ensure that our money supports our passions. We’re thankful for what God has given us, and we want to give that forward.”
Photos courtesy of Ronnie & Marge Schultz.