Money and Meaning
We believe that an active and healthy financial life has the potential to bring about a greater degree of economic justice in our world. While we encourage a life of passionate benevolence, we also know that there are creative options for how you spend, invest, and manage your money that can bring deep personal satisfaction and create greater social good. More importantly, such intentional economic activity provides a connection to your heartfelt values that is often missing when we simply spend spend spend... Explore the links below and see where a healthy engagement with God's economy might lead you.
For those interested in supporting this faith community, you can be assured that your contributions create a healthy fabric of relationships and activities that bring meaning and purpose to the many lives that make up this diverse and engaged community. We work hard to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to foster a deep and meaningful spiritual life and to find ways to express that depth in the world.
For many households, donating to the church on a consistent basis takes some getting used to. No matter the amount, a predictable giving pattern helps the church plan its expenses and monitor its budget. If you would like to establish a set pattern for your giving, we would encourage you to consider our electronic funds transfer service called Simply Giving. It’s a great way to keep up with your giving throughout the year. To explore the many options for giving, including stock gifts, electronic funds transfers, or to obtain a pack of giving envelopes, simply contact Bill Klaproth, our finance manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where do you spend your money?
We provide a number of connections to ensure that the way you spend your money reflects your values and creates alternatives to the dominant economic systems that have become so prevalent in our daily lives, Here are a few options
Fair Trade Chocolates and Gifts: Our congregation works through Lutheran World Relief to purchase fair trade chocolates in bulk for Halloween and works with Temple Isaiah to consolidate their order for Hanukah. Join us in purchasing next year’s Halloween treats or shop at SERRV anytime of the year.
Community Supported Agriculture: Many of us by organic, local and seasonal fruits and vegetables through our Interfaith CSA. For more information or to sign up, follow the link to Temple Isaiah’s web site. For those interested in grass fed beef, we can coordinate the purchase of a side of beef to share between families. Check out Holding Ranch for more information.
Who is handling your money?
We encourage you to consider the type of institutions you use to manage your financial holdings. As a participant in this community, you are eligible to become a member of the Lutheran Credit Union of America. This member-owned non-profit is a great way to ensure that your liquid funds are managed by a group that shares your values and supports the work of the wider church. No matter where you live, you can be a member of the Lutheran Credit Union and still do your banking
at 6,000 shared-service branches across America, 28,000 no–fee ATMs, and over 750 no–fee Bank of the West ATMs thanks to the Credit Union Cooperative. For those in the Bay Area, the Patelco Credit Union (there's an office with ATM just up the street on Mt Diablo Blvd) is a part of the Credit Union Cooperative and will accept Lutheran Credit Union transactions.
How do you invest your money?
While we have been told that the best way to invest is to generate the highest return, we also know that such high returns can create unwanted hidden costs that become somebody else’s problem or a problem for the next generation. Other investment options allow you to seek a “double” bottom line--a moderate return on your investment and the generation of some social return as well. For those interested in a model like this, there is a great organization that loans money to the poorest of the world's poor and provides a moderate return for the investor.
Oikocredit was officially founded in 1975, by the World Council of Churches. A global cooperative based in the Netherlands, Oikocredit aggregates investor money from people in the developed world and then re-distributes those investments to creditworthy micro finance institutions in the developing world.
For those interested in investing in the activities of the church, Lutheran Mission Investment Fund provides a number of investment options that generate a moderate return and low interest loans to churches seeking to expand into an area of ministry.
We have participated in a number of the events sponsored by SOCAP which brings some of the brightest minds together in a kind of Ted Talks format to explore meaning and money.
We have also been attending the events hosted by the EBASE which addresses economic justice issues in the bay area.
Our Saviors is a cohort with Criterion Ventures to explore the church as economic being. This relationship will continue to inform our direction and the resources we provide to both our parishioners and our wider community.
The OSLC Foundation: A living legacy
The OSLC Foundation was founded more than 25 years ago as an affiliate operation to support programs that extend the life and mission of our church. Gifts from $25 to $250,000 have supported programs that have changed the lives of many people.
What are the advantages of giving to the Foundation?
- Your donation gives forever: The earnings from your gift are given away every year without touching the principal. Your earnings, when combined with the earnings of others, are large enough to have a significant impact in changing people’s lives
- Simplicity. You don’t have the trouble of investment management. You can give through your will or trust. You can direct your tax deductible donation to help a specific cause or you can let the Foundation research and respond to various gifting opportunities as they occur over time.
- Your donations inspire others to give through our Matching Gift program.
How does the Foundation operate?
Like an endowment, your gifts are invested and only the earnings are given away each year.
How much does the Foundation give away each year?
It changes from year to year based on earnings. In 2011 we gave away $40,000. As the Foundation receives more donations, we earn more and give away more. We have also used a Matching Gift program as a way to double the impact of our efforts.
Recent examples of Foundation grants:
- Helping local families in need (Winter Nights Shelter)
- Supporting an orphanage in Mexico that provides shelter and education for orphaned and disabled children (Rancho Santa Marta)
- Providing scholarships for seminarians and inspirational speakers (Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary)
- Funding Micro Credit programs in Zambia to help people lift themselves out of poverty. (OSLC Responds: Raising Hope for Africa)
- Supporting facility improvements and major upgrades to Our Savior's building and property
- Providing scholarships to hundreds of needy children to attend school in Guatemala (MayaCrew)
- Funding dormitory and classroom construction at a secondary school in Tanzania (New Life Band)
How can I get started?
Contact a pastor or anyone in the church office and they can put you in contact with a Foundation Board member.
After your questions have been answered, all you need to do is write a check to:
OSLC Foundation, 1035 Carol Lane, Lafayette, CA 94549 (925) 283-3722
You may submit your check in person or mail it to the church office.
Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes. It is deductible for income, gift or estate tax purposes.
Can I make a donation in someone else's name?
Can I make a gift through my will or trust?
Yes. This is easily done with the help of an estate professional. The Foundation can put you in touch with someone if you need one.
Can I support a specific organization or cause that is dear to my heart?
Yes. However, from a practical point of view, we limit such designated gifts to donations of $5000 or more.
How is the Foundation managed?
The Foundation is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors that meets at least quarterly to manage the financial assets and consider grant requests.
How are the members of the board chosen?
Elections are held each May at the annual congregational meeting. Elected members serve for a maximum of 2 three-year terms.
How are gifts managed?
The Board abides by a set Investment Policy for the endowment and reviews the performance quarterly. The overall investment strategy is to preserve the endowment and allocate only earnings for program support. We use a conservative asset allocation model which is required by our bylaws. The Foundation provides a full report of its finances at the annual meeting of the congregation. The Foundation has grown for over the past 25 years.
If you would like to learn more, just ask anyone at the church office or a board member.