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Thrivent donates to Family Promise
Churches asked to host homeless families four times a year
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The Thrivent Financial Foundation gave St. Peter Lutheran Church in Fennimore a $5,000 Lutheran Community Matthew 25 Neighbors in Need grant. Pictured are (from left) Bethany Baumgartner and Merry Cooley of St. Peter Lutheran Church, Rev. Michael Short of First English Lutheran Church, and Lori Barry of Thrivent Financial.

St. Peter Lutheran Church in Fennimore recently received a $5,000 “Lutheran Community Matthew 25: Neighbors in Need” grant from the Thrivent Financial Foundation.

The funding was awarded to Family Promise of Grant County, and Fennimore’s Depot Exchange Thrift Store, which supports a food pantry. Both were chosen based on their effectiveness in addressing physical, emotional and/or spiritual needs in the local community such as food, clothing, shelter, fellowship, and care for the sick based on Jesus Christ’s words in Matthew 25:35–36.

St. Peter Lutheran Church has also elected to participate in a complementary two-to-one challenge grant program sponsored by the foundation. For every $1 raised by St. Peter Lutheran Church from donors by Feb. 28, the Thrivent Financial Foundation will provide an additional 50 cents — up to $5,000 — in support of the organization’s ministries.

Rev. Michael Short, senior pastor of First English Lutheran Church in Platteville, is an active member of Family Promise of Grant County, a nonprofit organization committed to helping low-income families achieve lasting independence in southwest Wisconsin.

“Family Promise is meant to be a homeless support system for families,” said Short. “To be a part of the group they have to be a parent and children.”

Family Promise of Grant County is recruiting the county’s churches to house families roughly four times each year, Short said. A day center will be located in Lancaster as well.

“There will be  a case worker we will hire to support the families so they can have support to help them move from homelessness to permanent housing,” said Short. “Most families stay in the program three to four months before they move into at least transitional housing if not permanent housing. Then we continue to work with the families to support them.

“Homelessness comes for various reasons: medical bills, loss of job, whatever. We also help them build a resume, deal with budgeting, all those things to help them get their life back on track.”

Short hopes to have 12 or 13 host congregations throughout the county. Nine congregations had committed to opening their doors to Family Promise of Grant County as of late last year.

“The grant is going to help us out a lot. We are in the middle of raising our funds,” said Short. “To make this happen we are going to have a budget of about $90,000 and now this gets us about a third of the way to where we need to be.

“Our goal here in the next few months is to do some fundraising and do some awareness, to make sure people remember. We started this process a year ago to get this up and running. We have had community meetings in different places and a lot of excitement. We want to make sure people are still aware we are doing this and we are still working to help the homeless in Grant County. The grant is going to help us a lot to help us meet our goal to be open in the summer.”

To learn more about Family Promise of Grant County, visit or contact Short, 348-3022.

“We are delighted to assist St. Peter Lutheran Church through this grant, said Richard Kleven, vice president of the Thrivent Financial Foundation. “We trust that this support will strengthen Family Promise and the food pantry’s outreach to those they serve.”

“The Family Promise shelter is new to Grant County, and unfortunately very much needed,” said Lori Barry, financial associate with Thrivent Financial. “The Fennimore Food Pantry services many families in the Fennimore area. I am very proud to be a part of an organization that continues to be committed to helping our churches and communities thrive.”