Simoné and Alex Gonzalez '90: Young Alumni Include Augsburg in Their Financial Plan
Alex Gonzalez '90 has had the opportunity to consider the impact of planned giving from multiple perspectives. As a financial consultant at Thrivent Financial and partner of the Stonebridge Group in Bloomington, he understands how planned giving can make good financial sense for some of his clients. As an Augsburg Regent, past member of the Alumni Board, and a community volunteer, he appreciates how critical philanthropy is to an organization's vitality. Perhaps most importantly, though, as an Augsburg benefactor, Alex knows that it just-plain feels good to support something that's important to you.
In addition to current gifts for Augsburg, Alex and his wife Simoné have named the College as the secondary beneficiary of their estate. If something happens to both of them, a portion of their estate would come to Augsburg. "We're relatively young still," explains Alex. Their estate plans are a way to start creating a legacy at Augsburg.
More Than a Game
Alex says he owes some of his success in life to football because it was the game (and his interest in studying business) that brought him to Augsburg. "It was a great fit for me," says Alex, who received the Paul Dahlen Memorial Scholarship award for athletics and academics.
"Augsburg was pivotal for me," he explains. "It's a big part of who I am and what my family is." He not only found Simoné at Augsburg, he found his faith. He became part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and enjoyed attending chapel. "The fact that faith was integrated into the student experience was wonderful," says Alex, remembering prayers before every football game. "We weren't praying for victory, but for fellowship." Still, he remembers feeling pretty good when the Auggies beat Bethel in his senior year. He remains a member of the A-Club and has developed life-long friendships with former teammates.
Finding his Vocation
After graduation, Alex landed a job in office furniture sales. He was good at it, but he felt like he was just collecting a paycheck. "I really didn't have a sense of meaning." He began searching for his true vocation and a way to make a greater impact. He found his path as a financial consultant with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, which he joined in 2003. "I'm making a difference in people's lives; helping them with their financial goals; protecting them with various insurance products; helping them invest; and helping them enjoy some of their blessings."
Thrivent helps Alex support organizations that are important to him by matching employees' philanthropic gifts. In 2014, the company recognized him as Volunteer of the Year for his work with Volunteers Enlisted to Help People (VEAP) in Bloomington. "It's neighbors helping neighbors," explains Alex. The company further recognized his service with a $5,000 gift to VEAP, and fellow financial consultants gathered at the 2014 Peak Performers National Conference contributed another $33,000 to the organization. Presenting Alex with the award, Chris Larson, managing partner of Thrivent's Central Minnesota region, said, "Alex's dedication to his members and our community is an inspiration for us all. […] This award is well deserved for his generosity and active mission to live out his faith and serve those less fortunate." Alex also served on the board of La Oportunidad for several years.
Alex, Simoné, and their three children (ages 13, 17 and 20) live in Bloomington, where Alex is a volunteer youth football coach and the family is active in St. Stephen Lutheran Church. He is a past president and current member of the Church Council, a youth leader, and a member of the church's Legacy Committee, which works to build the church's endowment.
"I know that planned giving is important, both from working with clients and the church endowment fund, and I try to walk the talk," says Alex of his own planned giving. "It doesn't really matter where the decimal point is," says Alex. "It's a concept that whatever blessing I have, I'd like to share it. That's a really powerful thing."
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