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Hundreds ‘home for the holidays’ thanks to unique alliance

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Habitat for Humanity International to build 355 additional U.S. homes in 2007

MINNEAPOLIS and ATLANTA (Dec. 18, 2006) – Hundreds of American families are celebrating the holidays as first-time homeowners this year thanks to the efforts of thousands of volunteers and financial support from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Today, the Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity alliance is announcing $24.5 million has been committed to build 355 additional homes with families in need in 2007. The houses will be constructed in 43 states.

In 2006, the first year of the alliance, 313 families in 43 states and Washington, D.C., achieved the dream of home ownership. One of those families, Kenneth and Rhonda Miller, along with their 11-year-old son Phoenix Miller of Hot Springs, Ark., spent the 2005 holidays in a run down three-room house with no running water. This year, the holidays promise much more.

“We can actually have a holiday gathering at our home. We’ve never done that before,” said Rhonda Miller. “It’s changed our whole life. I’m not sure what our future holds, but this house will provide stability for Phoenix and stability for us.”

Thrivent Financial became Habitat for Humanity International’s largest ally as a result of a four-year $105 million commitment to help increase the non-profit housing ministry’s home building production. In addition, Thrivent Financial rallied its national network of nearly 3 million members to volunteer. The alliance gives local Habitat affiliates the opportunity to work with more low-income families toward achieving Habitat’s mission of eliminating substandard housing.

In its second year, the alliance is again increasing Habitat’s home production by working with 256 Habitat affiliates to build the 355 homes.

“Habitat for Humanity is grateful for its alliance with Thrivent,” said Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International. “Thrivent Builds is helping to grow our affiliates to partner with even more families. We’re projecting a 6 percent increase in the number of U.S. homes we built in 2006. Working with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and its volunteers has been a true blessing.”

Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity brings together two national nonprofit networks of 1,699 Habitat affiliates and 1,362 Thrivent volunteer chapters. The need for an effort of this magnitude is great:

  • More than 13 million U.S. households use at least half of their income to pay for housing.
  • Millions more live in overcrowded conditions or housing with severe physical deficiencies, such as having no hot water, electricity or toilet.

“It warms my heart to know Thrivent Builds with Habitat is helping families get out of substandard housing and achieve their dream of home ownership,” said Bruce Nicholson, Thrivent Financial chairman, president and CEO. “Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity has struck a chord with our member volunteers like nothing before. I’m so proud of them and the amazing work they are doing in communities across the country.”

In addition to the United States, Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity also sends volunteers around the world to build Habitat homes with families in need. Thrivent Financial members went on 38 trips this year. Thrivent Builds with Habitat is also raising awareness about substandard housing issues through the one-of-a-kind Thrivent Builds Mobile. The mobile exhibit has been to 22 states giving more than 40,000 visitors a powerful experience designed to educate and call communities to action to support decent, affordable housing.

To learn more, visit www.thriventbuilds.com.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.

About Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a not-for-profit membership organization helping nearly 3 million members achieve their financial goals and give back to their communities. As a not-for-profit fraternal benefit society, Thrivent Financial sponsors national outreach programs and activities that support congregations, schools, charitable organizations and individuals in need. Thrivent Financial has main offices in Minneapolis, Minn., and Appleton, Wis. For more information, visit www.thrivent.com.by a paragraph mark.