2014 Thanksgiving Donation Vote!

We’re making a donation to 3 local non-profits on behalf of our members, as a gesture of holiday gratitude and generosity. Below are the organizations, chosen by TCOMM-Colonnade staff, and a brief description from them of the good these organizations do.

Complete a survey via SurveyMonkey to cast your vote!
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/tcommcolonnadedonation2014

Karen Johnson | Camp Knutson

Camp Knutson is a great place where kids with special needs get the opportunity to connect with other kids that may be going through similar health concerns. During their brief camp stay, kids get to temporarily escape their health burdens and just simply play!

Brenna Sheehan | Children’s Cancer Research Fund

This team partners with children’s hospitals to conduct leading-edge research in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of childhood cancers and blood-related disorders. Their investments in key research initiatives and patient care have led to innovative treatments, faster cures, new discoveries, and compassionate quality-of-life programs that give hope to pediatric patients and their families. Over the years I have known a few families that have benefited from cancer research but it did not hit home until my niece, 7 years cancer free, defeated stage 4 sacrococcygeal teratoma with the help of many doctors throughout Iowa and Minnesota. I love that this fund allows the doctors and nurses to work together to help give hope to so many little ones and their families.

David Rains | Timber Bay Youth Ministry – Ministry of Mark Busse

My close friend Mark Busse has a ministry at Timber Bay. He has a passion for helping troubled youth by building relationships, giving them a sense of purpose, and giving them real and lasting hope found in a relationship with Jesus. Mark’s ministry is extremely meaningful to me as it affects the youth in the community in which I live, and I know how grateful he would be for a financial gift that would enable him to reach more and more kids.

Ted Contag | Urban Homeworks

The mission of Urban Homeworks is to perpetuate the hope of Jesus Christ through innovative community development that produces dignified housing for families, a strategic network of good neighbors and the redemptive development of real estate. My wife and I love everything about this charity. They are putting our money to good work. They walk their talk. They are changing lives one relationship and one home at a time. Check them out at http://www.urbanhomeworks.org.

Bruce Ensrud | The Sheridan Story

There are over 200,000 children in the state of Minnesota who live in food insecurity, 100,000 of which live in the Twin Cities.  While there are many programs providing lunch and breakfast to children at school, the weekends remain a gap during which children struggle with hunger.  The Sheridan Story fills the food gap between Friday and Monday, when children are not able to participate in the free or reduced meal programs at school.  The Sheridan Story facilitates a partnership between community organizations, such as churches, and schools. The church or organization sponsors a school, which encompasses investing in the relationship with the school and also paying for, packing, and distributing food directly to the children. The Sheridan Story provides the logistical, sourcing, and organizational expertise necessary to execute the process of providing a weekend food supply.

Lori Bigaouette | American Cancer Society

Everyone has been affected by Cancer in one way or another, whether it has been through experiencing the disease first hand or knowing someone who has suffered physically and emotionally with the prognosis of having Cancer.  I pray for continued advances in finding a cure and for those affected by giving them the hope and courage to continue the fight.

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Alyssa Davis | Feed My Starving Children

I believe that we should donate to Feed My Starving Children. I have volunteered at this organization numerous times, and every time I go there, it never ceases to amaze me the care and passion that the staff has for their cause. Their mission is committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit”. They do this by packaging and sending scientifically developed meals to less fortunate countries like Haiti and Honduras (70 countries in total). They originally developed the formula to save lives of those who are malnourished and starving, children specifically, but the ingredients they use (rice, soy, vitamins, and dehydrated vegetables) actually help improve the health, growth and physical well-being of those who have moved out of starvation.

They believe in sustainability, meaning they send food continuously to help maintain the feeding programs in these countries. By helping these women and children, FMSC is saving lives and creating opportunities for those who don’t have enough. It’s a fun experience to prepare and package the meals as a volunteer, and knowing what a difference you’re making is the greatest feeling.

“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” – Proverbs 22:9

Chris Mongeon | Youth Encounter

Youth Encounter provides opportunities for youth to encounter Christ by providing resources and support to churches, communities and individuals.  We do this by engaging youth through event, team and service ministry.  Over the next 18 months, Youth Encounter will focus on launching our new initiative called “Feed the Need,” which will bring churches of all denominations, youth and local non-profits in a single community together to make a significant impact on homelessness and hunger issues.

Quick Facts

  • Youth Encounter is celebrating its 50th year this year
  • Every year, our teams and event staff are in front of 10,000 youth and 250 churches
  • 72% of all team participants enter into full or part-time ministry
  • We are having a significant impact by:

o   Working with smaller churches that don’t have a youth ministry program

o   Utilizing service projects to effect change (global mission teams, food packing events, etc.)

o   Providing resources and networking opportunities for church workers and lay leaders

Andrew Held | Urban Homeworks

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?  In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches us that to be a good neighbor is to offer help to those we witness in need. While there are lots of wonderful organizations doing many good works around the world, the cause that I am nominating for our Thanksgiving donation is one that not only acts as a good neighbor itself, by helping those people who are struggling to find stable, affordable housing, but is working also to train more good neighbors by encouraging and supporting financially stable individuals & families to live in community with neighborhoods where social injustice is prevalent & economic disparity is at its widest.  Please help me support Urban Homeworks this year, and create meaningful engagement in the fight against social injustice right here in Minnesota.

Ben Reynolds | Feed My Starving Children

To be considered for our Thanksgiving gift, I have selected Feed My Starving Children.  While everyone has probably heard of this organization’s effect on millions of children worldwide, Feed My Starving Children’s interactive approach to donating is what motivated me to select this organization.

While all charitable organizations have a positive impact on our world, the experience I had as a volunteer at Feed My Starving Children was incredible. I’ll admit I haven’t volunteered my time there in a few years, but I can clearly recall my last experience.  Approximately 100 high school students from all walks of life (in a very interesting and confusing time in life, if I may add) coming together to accomplish one simple goal: create, from start to finish, as many meals as possible to be delivered to impoverished villages around the world. For that night, everyone put aside their differences and preconceived notions of each other to contribute to this cause. Whether your responsibility was combining ingredients for the meals, plastic sealing the meals, packaging the meals in boxes, or getting them ready to deliver, everyone was busy contributing. Knowing that the number of people we would positively affect was 100% dependent on our work ethic that evening, people were working frantically to produce as many meals as possible.  Additionally, everyone was having fun!! Everyone worked hard, but laughed just as hard. And at the end, everyone was exhausted.

Donating to Feed My Starving Children is truly a win-win situation; value is added to all parties. For recipients of the meals, this cause provides the gift of nutrition and hope for a brighter future. For the volunteers, it provides a unique opportunity to take a step back from their day-to-day routine to provide support for a cause much larger than themselves.

Note: I reached out to Feed My Starving Children to see if they could provide an approximate number of meals a group of 11 people working for 2 hours one evening would produce. I have not heard a response yet, but will keep everyone posted.

Loren Van Patten | Compassion International

Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

Waves of Grace by Alyssa Meyer

I am always in awe when I encounter the power and vastness of the ocean.   A few months ago I had the opportunity to escape the sub-zero temperatures of Minnesota and travel south.  I believe that God reminded me of a very important truth during that time, a truth that speaks to the generosity of our Abba Father.

“Here I am, sitting in the sand taking in the power of the ocean and watching beach goers as they walk by.  I begin to notice that as people pass, they each leave a deep set of footprints in the soft, wet sand.  But moments after their feet leave the sand; a wave of foamy blue water washes away the prints.  Again, another walks by leaving an imprint in the same spot, but a wave comes and it dissolves as if it were never there at all.  I watch this pattern repeat itself over and over, and I finally stand up to leave.  As I start walking, I feel my feet sink into the sand and I look back to see my footprints get pulled back into the ocean, leaving a smooth canvas of sand behind.  A sudden truth washes over me.  My footprints in the sand are like my sin – deep, visible, and leaving its ugly mark on my heart and even the people I love.  But time and time again, Jesus reaches out with a wave of grace and washes my sin clean as if it were never there at all.  I thank God that this is his promise to each of us: to wash away our sin and make us clean, generously offering redemption and grace in return.”  

As Titus 3:4-7 says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

“Be Sure to Adjust Your Own Oxygen Mask Before Helping Others” by Bruce Ensrud

Anyone who flies frequently knows the reference above. During every airline safety demonstration/video, passengers are clearly instructed to take care of making sure we have oxygen to breathe before providing assistance to anyone else (even the darling little girl sitting next to the main character in the safety video!).

While I’m sure there’s a practical aspect to these instructions (one cannot help someone else unless they can breathe themselves!), I’ve often thought there’s a corollary of this advice in our business: it’s hard to fully realize one’s generous intent until we’re certain we’ve first taken care of self.

Most who consult with a financial advisor are inherently coming to the table asking “Am I going to be OK?” Until there’s a feeling of security, it’s hard to make the leap to helping others.

We’re here to make sure there’s enough, AND help you think about what that means for the world around you.

However, the cushions of our conference room chairs will NOT serve as personal flotation devices in the event of a water landing….

 

Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Thrivent Investment Management Inc., 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, a FINRA and SIPC member and a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Thrivent Financial representatives are registered representatives of Thrivent Investment Management Inc. They are also licensed insurance agents/producers of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. 717827

2013 Thanksgiving Donation Vote!

givethanks

We’re making a donation to 3 local non-profits on behalf of our members, as a gesture of holiday gratitude and generosity. Below are the organizations, chosen by TCOMM-Colonnade staff, and a brief description from them of the good these organizations do.

Visit our Facebook page, or complete a survey via SurveyMonkey to cast your vote!

Bruce Ensrud | Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches

Through their family of programs, Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC) focuses on fighting hunger, helping seniors, empowering urban Native Americans, nurturing families and mentoring youth. GMCC is a nonprofit where compassion has inspired action since 1905

Ted Contag | Urban Homeworks

The mission of Urban Homeworks is to perpetuate the hope of Jesus Christ through innovative community development that produces dignified housing for families, a strategic network of good neighbors and the redemptive development of real estate.  My wife and I love everything about this charity.  They are putting our money to good work.  They walk their talk.  They are changing lives one relationship and one home at a time.  Check them out at www.urbanhomeworks.org.

Chris Mongeon | Way to Grow

For over 20 years, Way to Grow has been one of the preeminent early learning programs in the Twin Cities. They focus on the most important stages of life — from prenatal to kindergarten — and parenting. In October 2010, they launched the Great by Eight Initiative in partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools. This new program expands their research-based model to grade three, age eight.

They firmly believe that every child should be born healthy, stay healthy and have the equal opportunity to succeed in school and life. And that can only happen with parents’ active participation. Through their in-home and center-based programming, they help parents create a healthy home and become their children’s first and most important teachers.

Alyssa Meyer | Healing Haiti

I think we should send financial support to Healing Haiti.  This organization believes that God has created every person with a purpose and that he offers an abundant and significant life through Him.  Healing Haiti’s mission is to bring clean water, food, housing and education to the most vulnerable people in Haiti.  They also create opportunities for people in the United States to learn about Haiti and how they can help be a part of something bigger than themselves.  Healing Haiti houses orphans, educates children, cares for Haitian elders, delivers the gift of water in the poorest slum in the western hemisphere, all while sharing the life-giving truth of the gospel of Jesus.

Virginia Thorkelson | Animal Humane Society

I am very passionate about the mission and vision statements of the Animal Humane Society: “ To engage the Hearts, Hands and Minds of the community to help animals and to compassionately and responsibly create a more humane world for animals.”

Lori Bigaouette | American Heart Association

In memory of my dad who was 44 when he died of a heart attack.

Andrew Held | Urban Homeworks

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?  In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches us that to be a good neighbor is to offer help to those we witness in need. While there are lots of wonderful organizations doing many good works around the world, the cause that I am nominating for our Thanksgiving donation is one that not only acts as a good neighbor itself, by helping those people who are struggling to find stable, affordable housing, but is working also to train more good neighbors by encouraging and supporting financially stable individuals & families to live in community with neighborhoods where social injustice is prevalent & economic disparity is at its widest.  Please help me support Urban Homeworks this year, and create meaningful engagement in the fight against social injustice right here in Minnesota.

Loren Van Patten | Kiva

Kiva seeks to alleviate poverty by infusing capital into a worldwide network of microfinance institutions.  Since being founded in 2005, Kiva has used the internet to connect people and inspire more than 1 million lenders to provide nearly $486 million of loans in 73 countries.  Lenders enjoy a 99.04% repayment rate.  Loans can be for as little as $25 and help to create opportunity for others around the world.  This organization means a lot to me because microfinances can help build the infrastructure low income individuals need to help lift themselves out of poverty in sustainable ways.  Microfinances often have a particular affection for empowering women as to the means to economically drive their families to a new reality.

David Rains | Timber Bay Youth Ministry – Ministry of Mark Busse

My close friend Mark Busse has a ministry at Timber Bay. He has a passion for helping troubled youth by building relationships, giving them a sense of purpose, and giving them real and lasting hope found in a relationship with Jesus. Mark’s ministry is extremely meaningful to me as it affects the youth in the community in which I live, and I know how grateful he would be for a financial gift that would enable him to reach more and more kids.

Karen Johnson | Camp Knutson

Camp Knutson is a great place where kids with special needs get the opportunity to connect with other kids that may be going through similar health concerns.  During their brief camp stay, kids get to temporarily escape their health burdens and just simply play!

Brenna Sheehan | Children’s Cancer Research Fund

This team partners with children’s hospitals to conduct leading-edge research in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of childhood cancers and blood-related disorders.  Their investments in key research initiatives and patient care have led to innovative treatments, faster cures, new discoveries, and compassionate quality-of-life programs that give hope to pediatric patients and their families.  Over the years I have known a few families that have benefited from cancer research but it did not hit home until my niece, 6 years cancer free, defeated sacrococcygeal teratoma with the help of many doctors throughout Iowa and Minnesota.  I love that this fund allows the doctors and nurses to work together to help give hope to so many little ones and their families.

Open Hands by Loren Van Patten

A number of years ago my family and I began attending the church that we are currently members of and call home. Of the many joys that originally attracted us to that body of Christ and have since caused us to take deeper root in the community, perhaps the most celebrated one is their concept of open hands. A core tenant of our church is that “with open hands we want to receive all that God wants to give, knowing He wants to give us a lot, and with open hands we give it away, believing we cannot out give God.” What most captivated me about this value was the rhythm and flow it declares around God’s sovereignty: God gives, we receive, we give (and the cycle repeats). Woven into the fabric of this ideal is a foundational aspect of God centered stewardship. It is something that, in the end, brings more freedom, joy, and worship in the midst of giving by transforming an understanding of true abundance. How does it do this? It solves the issue of ownership. God owns everything. There is no aspect of life that can be separated from its place of origin in creator God. As image bearers of Christ, everything can be and should be traced back to God for the sake of His glory. Living with open hands demonstrates clarity of true ownership through a posture of stewardship. Rather than asking the question of how much of my wealth should I give to God, it asks the question of how much of God’s wealth should I get to keep for my own use? There is a great difference in these two perspectives. The first asks why should I give anything to God? The second asks why should God let me keep anything that is His? Once the issue of ownership is resolved, it establishes the principal of stewardship. A steward is someone who manages the assets of someone else. If everything belongs to God and He has given us time, talent, and treasure, then He has strategically positioned us to be His stewards and effectively manage the portfolio of His kingdom. Living with open hands then means that when money, resources, wealth, or opportunity come our way, we seek God’s guidance for how to best steward those resources since they are not ours to begin with (it all belongs to Him). Opposite that, when we live with closed hands, we anchor our faithfulness in a sea of scarcity, falsely believing that what we have been given has come from the work of our hands and not God’s. We do this all while thinking with the brain He created and holds together, using the unique skills and abilities He deposited in us that were supposed to display the joy of His craftsmanship, all while working in jobs to earn incomes that would have never been possible without His mercies of today. An open hands mentality strips money of its worldly power and inherent worth by moving wealth into a place where it can stop being about dollars and can start being about devotion. It is in this arena where faithful stewardship becomes an act of worship, breathing new life into traditional “giving” so much so that it becomes “returning” to God what was already His. Within this reality an element of undeservedness takes root within the heart. It grows and develops over time, beautifully compounding itself through the gospel to ultimately bear fruit for the glory of God’s kingdom. With open hands receive all that wants to give, knowing He wants to give you a lot. And with open hands give it away, believing you cannot out give God. What joy awaits for those who try and out give God.