Who We Are

sprout being planted


Lutheran Planned Giving Services was founded on April 14th, 1981. Bishop Dennis Anderson convened the leadership of the Nebraska Synod Agencies and Institutions to establish a “combined and united effort” in the area of planned giving. These agencies and institutions agreed to share the cost of the effort. Prior to this collaboration, the Nebraska Synod, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Reuben Swanson, had established a position on the Synod Staff for planned giving.

The ELCA Foundation was accepted into the Lutheran Planned Giving Services membership on April 19, 1988. This action equipped Lutheran Planned Giving Services with many additional tools and resources. The Lutheran Planned Giving Services model originally developed in the Nebraska Synod has been duplicated throughout the ELCA.

Lutheran Giving is proud to serve on behalf of the 13 Agencies and Institutions of the ELCA listed on the partner ministry page. To this day, Lutheran Giving helps all people who wish to leave a legacy, regardless of the size of their gift.

Willing Witness logo


A legacy gift serves as a profound faith statement and expression of personal values. Those that make legacy gifts are invited to be a Willing Witness.

A Willing Witness is a person who has included an ELCA Ministry and/or congregation in their estate plan. Over its history, Lutheran Giving has helped over 1000 Willing Witnesses develop planned & outright gifts to benefit hundreds of ministries of the church. Additionally, there are over 300 members of our Honor Roll, those saints who have passed to life immemorial having included ministry in their estate plan.

Sarah Jank Callahan Photo


As Executive Director, Sarah provides charitable gift planning services to individuals, couples and families wishing to support Nebraska Synod congregations and its agencies and institutions as well as any Synodical or Churchwide ministry. Sarah also provides charitable gift planning presentations to Nebraska Synod congregations and consultation services to congregations wishing to form or build up an endowment fund.

Callahan comes to Lutheran Giving with a background in the financial services industry as well as professional fundraising. Most recently, she built a practice at Thrivent Financial in Omaha.  During her years at Thrivent, she worked with families in Nebraska and Iowa with generational transition and estate planning. She holds a bachelor of arts in music and a master’s in business administration from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. Callahan earned the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) professional designation from the Richard D. Irwin Graduate School of The American College of Financial Services.


Linda Timmons, president

President – CEO,

JASON GERDES, treasurer

Executive Director,
NE Lutheran Outdoor Ministries

Chris Tonniges, secretary

President – CEO,
Lutheran Family Services

melissa sasse

Interim Administrator, 
Blue Valley Lutheran Homes

Dan Cooper

Executive Director,
Oaks Indian Mission

Jon Fredricks

Executive Director,
NE Lutheran Campus Ministry

Eric Gurley


michael foss

Interim VP for Development,
Wartburg Theological Seminary

jody horner

Midland University

Rev. scott johnson

Nebraska Synod ELCA

Annette Shoemaker

Exec. Vice President,
ELCA Foundation

Sandra H. Nelson

VP for Advancement,
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago 

Simone Weber

Table Grace Ministries