Great Stuff — Thrivent Has Directly Funded Planned Parenthood and NARAL

By Pr. Michael Schuermann

Found at

ThriventFinancialThrivent Financial promotes itself as “a faith-based, not-for-profit membership organization nearly 2.5 million members strong.” Thrivent confesses to do business in this way: “Being membership-owned, Thrivent Financial does what’s best for our members, supporting the values of faith, family, stewardship and service.” And in this way: “We’re a faith-based organization, called to care for others.” “The common bond of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is Christianity.”

But, according to statements and documents provided by persons familiar with the matter, Thrivent Financial has directly funded Planned Parenthood Federation of America, at least four Planned Parenthood affiliates throughout the United States, and the NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Foundation, through the Thrivent Financial Gift Multiplier program. Many of Thrivent’s Members and employees would argue that this action is contrary to the teachings of Christianity and, therefore, contrary to Thrivent’s promise to support “the values of faith, family, stewardship and service.”

Asked for comment, Thrivent responded: “The Thrivent Gift Matching Program provides matching funds for contributions made by corporate employees and members of our field organization to non-profit organizations. We are aware of the issue that has been raised and will review and address accordingly.” Further statements from Thrivent will be added to this article as they are available.

The Gift Multiplier program matches personal donations made by Thrivent employees. Thrivent promotes the program in their recruitment materials:

“We also encourage and support financial gifts to our communities through our Gift Multiplier program. We match 100% of your contributions (up to an annual limit) to qualified organizations. We will also double that match if you are serving on the recipient organization’s board of directors.”

Thrivent provides these matching funds via their charitable giving arm, the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation. A Thrivent employee submits an application while donating money to the charitable organization of their choice and, upon approval, Thrivent matches the donation up to a set amount. The set amount varies based on the employee’s rank. Each organization is currently capped at receiving $50,000 total funds per year.

How is an organization determined to be eligible? Thrivent states their criteria on the Thrivent Gift Multiplier website (PDF), including this:

“Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and the Foundation take a neutral position on controversial issues where significant disagreement or debate exists. Therefore, the organization declines grants and gifts to projects that support positions not generally agreed upon in society at large.”

By accepting Planned Parenthood, its affiliates, and NARAL in the Gift Multiplier program, Thrivent implies that organizations which provide abortions as well as organizations which lobby for abortion rights at the state and national levels are not controversial.

Yet, Planned Parenthood is the leading abortion provider in the United States, having performed around 327,000 abortions in 2012. NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota states that its mission “is to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.” Thrivent participates in the murder of innocent human lives by granting matching funds to Planned Parenthood and NARAL. This is controversial.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates appear on an internal company list of organizations eligible to receive matching funds (screenshot below). The list was published within the last 30 days and is not out-of-date. Note the ID number listed before the title of the organization. According to a Thrivent source familiar with the workings of the Gift Multiplier program, these numbers are assigned chronologically as organizations are added to the list. Therefore, the source adds, because the last two were added sometime in the last year, the first three organizations have been on the list for some time. It’s unknown at this time the amount of funding that Thrivent has provided to these organizations. It’s also unknown exactly when the funds were granted. However, for an organization to appear on this list it must already have been approved and given funds through the Thrivent Gift Multiplier program. 

Thrivent PP matching screen shot copy

NARAL Minnesota also appears in this company list. Again note that this organization has been on the list for some time (although not as long as the first three Planned Parenthood organizations above).

Thrivent NARAL Gift Multiplier List

It’s important to note that these organizations were funded through the Thrivent Foundation. Thrivent describes the Foundation in this way:

The Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation is a private foundation funded by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. As a 501(c)(3) organization with its own board of trustees, the foundation is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, scientific, literary and educational purposes and makes grants and gifts to 501(c)(3) exempt organizations. The Foundation does not provide grants to individuals.

The Thrivent Foundation is  funded entirely by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. All of the monies which the Foundation distributes come from the monies which Thrivent earns via its various products and investments.

Thrivent is organized as a fraternal benefit society. Thrivent Members should be able to contact Thrivent and request to see the documents in question, as well as to obtain information on what monies have been given to Planned Parenthood, its affiliates, and NARAL, as well as any other organization.

In summary, money earned by Thrivent from the investments of Thrivent Members is given, via Thrivent’s charitable arm the Thrivent Foundation, to pro-abortion organizations such as: Planned Parenthood Foundation of America; Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin; Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota; Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio; Planned Parenthood of the Heartland; and NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Foundation.

Members can contact their Thrivent representative and the Thrivent corporate headquarters to express their thoughts on this matter.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


Great Stuff — Thrivent Has Directly Funded Planned Parenthood and NARAL — 13 Comments

  1. Looks like proof to what some have long suspected. LC-MS needs to cut loose from Thrivent. They really serve us no purpose anymore.

  2. Well, you could always go to a private financial advisor. You won’t get matching funds for your church, but costs should be lower and you should receive a much greater degree of investment availability.

  3. How will those addicted to Thrivent funds in their own congregations respond to this latest information?

  4. @Joel Dusek #3
    Another interesting question, I think, is: if there is an uproar about this, will Thrivent again respond by penalising the pro-life entities those protesting are presumed to support?

  5. As I see it, and this is not going to make a lot of you happy, many LCMS churches prostituted themselves years ago and continue to do so, by letting AAL/LB/Thrivent reps use their facilities, newsletters, and Sunday School, even worship, hours to promote their products. Simply put, our churches have numerous insurance agents/investors who give their firstfruits to the Lord. Are they invited to place articles in the bulletins, lead “Bible” studies on stewardship, or give talks during/after the Divine Service? What made Thrivent dollars and reps so much more important? Our churches got it all wrong by mixing the two kingdoms and now that Thrivent has been “found out” to be a secular institution (which it always was) we are crying foul. It’s really time for the LCMS to repent and go about the business of Church. Maybe another study should be conducted on the necessity of the Foundation while we’re at it, since it has nothing to do with Church either.

  6. Thrivent may have bought Planned Parenthood’s propaganda about the breadth of its non-abortion-related services.

    The latest Planned Parenthood annual report reveals:

    ** In 2012, abortions made up 93.8% of Planned Parenthood’s services to pregnant women, while prenatal care and adoption referrals accounted for only 5.6% (19,506) and 0.6% (2,197), respectively. Planned Parenthood did 149 abortions for every adoption. So much for parenthood. Whoever named the nation’s largest abortionist Planned Barrenhood was spot on.

    ** Cancer screenings and prevention services at Planned Parenthood are down 29 percent in the past two years, and contraception services are down 15 percent over the last four years.

    ** 56.9 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clinic revenues comes from abortions. (About 50 percent of its total income comes from taxpayers.) An American Life League report reveals that PPFA shrinks that abortion-revenue number to “three percent of medical services” by counting big-dollar surgical abortions the same as STD tests, writing prescriptions, and so on. All are simply reported as one “medical service.” In this way, Planned Parenthood uses 10 million mundane medical tasks such as blood tests to mask the extent of its only growth and biggest moneymaker—abortion services.

    The bright spot in the PP annual report: the number of donors to Planned Parenthood has decreased by 27 percent since 2007.

  7. @Robert Hoffman #2
    Sorry, Robert, but I disagree with that assessment. Thrivent products are ranked among the best. Go to A.M. Best to see the company ranking. They are often not as expensive as many because they are a non-profit, fraternal company. And their agents are highly trained – much better than industry standards. They are a very professional “kingdom of the left” organization that has found an easy resource for clientele in Lutheranism. Our churches simply have no place promoting them. What individuals do with their resources is their business, not the Churches. Can we use our knowledge of their business practices to make informed decisions? Absolutely! Thrivent’s support of Planned Parenthood disgusts and sickens me, but unfortunately, many secular companies promote gay lifestyles and the murder of children these days. It is a sad reflection on our society and our churches need to speak out against those practices and teach what is right and true and noble. Then they need to hightail it out of the business of insurance and investing (hmmmm…Foundation, Church Extension, Concordia plan?) and let the professionals in the industry do their job.

  8. LadyM :@Robert Hoffman #2 Planned Parenthood disgusts and sickens me, but unfortunately, many secular companies promote gay lifestyles and the murder of children these days. P>

    How many of them have “Lutheran” in their name?

  9. I told my dad about this he has a lot of money invested through thrivent. He is very pro life his choice dollars have gone to LfL. He hit the roof when he heard he can’t give his money to Lfl any more. Called the comment line and let them know his views they said there thinking it over. They don’t care if they loose LCMs accounts they just approved to change there name allow all Christian in thrivent so they’ll get a bunch of other Lukewarm Methodist and the alike to join. Can’t even have investment -insurance fellowship with this bunch of libs!

  10. @A. Layman #10 Actually, we were told they “officially” took “Lutheran” out of their corporate name a while back. They are now just Thrivent Financial. I don’t know for sure if that is something that’s registered with the state of MN or what and I don’t know how to find out the truth in that. That’s good if it’s true . I wish ELCA and a few others would follow suit!

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