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Overcoming life’s challenges, with generosity

When Sylvia’s* husband, Rick,* died suddenly in 2018, she had to notify the 65 charities he’d been supporting regularly that his gifts would stop. “He just loved giving a little here and a little there to support their causes, but I had no idea there were so many,” she recalls. At such a difficult time, alerting Rick’s favorite charities was the least of her worries. One person who stepped in to help Sylvia cope was her Thrivent financial advisor, Paul. “I am so fortunate to have a financial advisor who is also my friend,” Sylvia says. Paul reminded her that shortly before Rick died, they had talked about establishing a donor-advised fund. The couple had been looking for meaningful ways to use the proceeds from the sale of rental property, and Paul had introduced them to Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing (Thrivent Charitable) to learn about their options. Sylvia says, “I remember being so amazed and grateful to create a fund. It’s a way to honor my husband and leave our legacy together. And having everything in one place makes it easier.”

The donor-advised fund is named for both of them, and Sylvia has created a schedule of giving to make grants to many of the causes her husband loved to support, including churches, dog rescues, environmental organizations and local groups committed to ending hunger. Next year she’ll turn 72 and will begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from her retirement accounts. She plans to use some of those funds to build the donor-advised fund. After a move to another state to care for her sister-in-law who was undergoing cancer treatments, Sylvia reignited her passion for creating custom quilts. This year she has shipped three quilts to a family in Ukraine she learned about while volunteering with the Rotary Club in her new community. Her philosophy for giving is simple and profound. She says, “I look for people who need help and believe that what I can give may be part of a turning point in their lives.”

*Identity changed at request of donor.