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Practical ideas to care for your God-given gifts

Toolkit offers practical ideas to care for yourself and others, particularly in ways that reflect your faith and values. Published every other month, this free newsletter is a quick read – only two pages – on current news and trends with important but simple applications for your life today.

Volume 43, Number 4 - September/October 2016

Feelings of the unchurched

Americans who don’t go to church are open to participating in community service events or attending concerts at a church, according to a new survey of 2,000 unchurched people from LifeWay Research and Billy Graham Center for Evangelism … “Unchurched Americans aren’t hostile to faith,” said Lifeway Executive Director Scott McConnell. “They just don’t think church is for them.” … Almost 80 percent of the respondents agreed with the statement, “If a friend of mine really values their faith, I don’t mind them talking about it.” … More information about the research is available at

Mental benefits of exercising

For women over 40, improving your mood and reducing stress are much better motivators to exercise than losing weight, notes Michelle Segar, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women and Gender … In her institute’s study of more than 150 women, those who said they work out for mental health benefits exercised 30 percent more than those who said their top reason is weight loss … Segar said, “A lot of women need to say, ‘You know what, I’m never going to like exercise while I’m doing it, but it will feel good to know I’m taking care of myself.’”

Everence aids college students

Everence® is honoring 42 students with scholarships for the 2016-2017 academic year ... The scholarship program encourages young people to explore the integration of faith and finances while helping them on their educational journeys ... More than 160 students from across the country applied for scholarships – a benefit of being an Everence member ... Thirty-nine students received $750 scholarships, two received $1,000 scholarships and one received a $2,000 scholarship ... Visit to see this year’s recipients.

Moving up the Fortune list

Three companies forced their way into the top 10 in the newest Fortune 500 list of largest American corporations … Wal-Mart Stores topped the list for the fourth year in a row … Cracking the top 10 were McKesson Corporation at number five (up from 11th), UnitedHealth Group at number six (up from 14th) and AT&T, at number 10 (up from 12th) … The complete top 10, in order, are Wal-Mart Stores, Exxon Mobil, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, McKesson, UnitedHealth Group, CVS Health, General Motors, F

Rewards of staying fit

People who exercise and are physically fit in middle age are less likely to have a stroke when they’re older, according to a new study published online in the journal Stroke … Among nearly 20,000 adults in their 40s, researchers found that the most physically fit had a 37 percent lower risk of having a stroke after age 65, compared with the least fit … “Incorporating exercise and regular physical activity in one’s day-to-day routine is important to improve fitness and lower risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in older age,” said Dr. Ambarish Pandey, lead researcher.

Rebate for Missions funds awarded

Everence Federal Credit Union recently donated $16,200 from its Rebate for Missions program to two global organizations, Friends United Meeting and Christian Peacemaker Teams ... Each year, Everence Federal Credit Union tithes to church and mission work 10 percent of its income from its Visa credit cards ... In addition to the amount awarded to these organizations, a portion is donated to local community charities through branch offices ... Everence members choose the recipients of both the global and local grants … Since the Rebate for Missions program began in 1995, the credit union has given more than $400,000 in grants.

Money for charities, churches

For many people, generosity is at the core of their Christian faith, and individuals and families often show that generosity by financially supporting their favorite charities … Now, people can be even more generous by also using AmazonSmile, a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices and shopping features available on ... When you shop there, 0.5 percent of your purchase goes to the charitable organization of your choice … Shoppers can choose from a database of more than 1 million charities, including many churches.

Long church closing protest ends

Parishioners of a Catholic church in Massachusetts recently ended their nearly 12-year, around-the-clock protest of the Archdiocese of Boston’s decision to close their church … For more than a decade, members of St. Frances X Cabrini in Scituate took turns keeping a 24/7 vigil to make sure at least one person was in the church at all times … But they ran out of options when the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear their case … Parishioners now are meeting in a Masonic lodge and hope to raise money for a new building, The Christian Century reported.

Record year for philanthropy

Donations from individuals, estates, foundations and corporations reached an estimated $373.25 billion in 2015, setting a record for the second year in a row, reported Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015 … “It’s heartening that people really do want to make a difference, and they’re supporting the causes that matter to them,” said W. Keith Curtis, chairman of Giving USA Foundation … Five sectors saw increases of more than 5 percent – education, arts/humanities, environment/animals, public society benefit, and international affairs … The Giving USA report is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Columbus is a smart city

Columbus, Ohio, beat out 77 other cities to earn a $40 million prize in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge … The grant will help the city become the first to fully integrate new transportation technologies to help reduce barriers to economic growth … Among other things, Columbus is looking at using electric, self-driving vehicles to get people to and from transit stations, according to the website ... Other finalists were Austin, Texas; Denver; Kansas City, Missouri; Pittsburgh; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco.


September/October 2016 issue

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with municipal fund securities before investing. More information about municipal fund securities is available in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully before investing.