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Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation help Americus cut through tornado debris

Habitat’s corporate partner donates chain saws to city for debris removal

AMERICUS, Ga. (March 8, 2007) – Continuing its efforts to assist its hometown in recovering from last week’s tornado and severe weather, Habitat for Humanity International has enlisted the help of another of its corporate partners to provide cleanup assistance.

On Thursday, the home-building organization presented Americus Mayor Barry Blount and the city with a dozen 20- and 25-inch commercial-grade chain saws. The donation, valued at $7,500, was made possible by the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation. The foundation is funded by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a financial services membership organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., and Appleton, Wis.

“When we heard what had happened in Habitat’s hometown, we knew we wanted to help,” said Brad Hewitt, senior vice president, Fraternal Operations, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. “We hope these chainsaws will speed debris removal and help residents of Americus start to rebuild their homes and lives.”

Through a four-year, $105 million commitment, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is helping Habitat build more than 450 houses this year and is engaging Thrivent Financial’s nearly 3 million members in working with Habitat around the world.

“We are so pleased that the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation has come to the aid of Americus,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “It’s a testament to their commitment to Habitat and to the town we’ve called home for more than 30 years.”

“You would be surprised that something as simple as a chain saw would be one of our biggest needs right now,” said Mayor Blount. “But with the amount of tree damage we’ve sustained, these commercial-grade saws are better suited for the work we have ahead of us. They will help our crews clear debris more quickly, and that benefits us all.”

The chain saw donation through the Thrivent Financial Foundation is the second time in as many days that Habitat for Humanity International has brought additional aid to the city. On Wednesday, Habitat announced its employees will take time off from their “day jobs” to provide volunteer assistance to the city using donated tools and materials from Lowe’s, another of Habitat’s corporate partners. The tools then will be donated to the city for ongoing use.

Habitat for Humanity International continues to assess the long-term housing needs of low-income families affected by last week’s devastating tornado. In the meantime, the home-building organization is offering cleanup assistance for its hometown.

“Americus is our home and we want to do everything we can to help,” Reckford said. “Though this is not typical of the kind of disaster recovery work we do, we wanted to help the town that has been so supportive of us over the years.”

In addition to giving its employees the opportunity to get involved in the recovery efforts and coordinating the donations with Thrivent and Lowe’s, Habitat has made 9,500 square feet of office space available for vital service organizations. Currently, Sumter Regional Hospital has temporarily moved one of its departments into the Habitat facility and more organizations are expected to join them. In addition, Habitat is preparing to accommodate volunteers who will be coming into the community to help in the recovery efforts.

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

About Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation

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 and operated 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.

About Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a Fortune 500 financial services membership organization helping nearly 3 million members achieve their financial goals and give back to their communities. As a not-for-profit organization, Thrivent Financial sponsors national outreach programs and activities that support congregations, schools, charitable organizations and individuals in need. For more information, visit