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Look for the Helpers

Look for the Helpers

John and Linda celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary on March 18, 2020. They met through a Cobber connection, Cynthia Moore '64, in Washington D.C. Cynthia was Linda's best friend and John met her at a Concordia dinner in D.C. in 1971. At that time, he was stationed near D.C. after returning from Vietnam. John says, "She introduced me to Linda and the rest is history."

Concordia alumnus John Ellingboe '69 and his wife, Linda, heed the advice of Mr. Rogers and help others in need through IRA giving and the Student Success and Retention Fund.

"When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ' Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping,'" recalls John Ellingboe '69.

If you've watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, you may remember beloved host Fred Rogers sharing this advice. John and his wife, Linda, have used this as a guiding force in their lives—finding ways to support and love others.

Helping students has been a driving passion for the Ellingboes throughout their lives and started with John's efforts to recruit Seattle high school students for Concordia College 30 years ago. Living in the Pacific Northwest, John and Linda knew that most of the students they recruited and provided scholarships for would not be prepared for Minnesota weather—and many couldn't afford appropriate winter gear. So, they provided money for jackets and whatever else the students might need to transition to college life in the Midwest.

"Concordia College is like a family. I felt like I knew everybody and we pushed each other to succeed. I truly believe my MBA program in Seattle at City University was easier than my undergraduate work at Concordia! Being surrounded by a bunch of overachievers was a good thing and helped me succeed in academics, work and life," John says. John's connection to the college has remained strong—he served on the Concordia National Alumni Board in the mid- to late 90s, has recruited dozens of students and enjoys attending Homecoming on campus and alumni events in Seattle.

Buying jackets for students gave Linda an idea.

"I thought, 'What about all of the students at Concordia who are in the gap and need support? We should set up a student emergency fund,'" shares Linda.

The Ellingboes established the Student Success and Retention Fund eight years ago to fill the gap for Concordia students. The fund has provided financial assistance to hundreds of students and is more important now than ever given the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the college asked students to leave campus to help flatten the curve and ensure their health and safety, this created a financial burden. Students were wondering how they could afford to fly home on short notice. How would they pay for groceries and rent when their work shifts were drastically reduced or eliminated? Many international students simply couldn't go home as their hometowns were more affected by the virus than others.

One student shared that he couldn't go home because his mom is battling cancer and lives in a highly affected area of the country. This required him to rent an apartment and continue to work on campus. A grant from the fund provided him much-needed grocery money, something for which he is incredibly grateful.

The need for these emergency funds currently outweighs the balance, which is something John and Linda Ellingboe are hoping will change.

"It is always in the back of our minds that some students struggle to afford their college education and might not come back. We want to help them finish."

In addition to the Student Success and Retention Fund, John and Linda have established scholarships that have supported dozens of students and many different charities. Giving through an individual retirement account (IRA) has allowed them to do this.

"Making gifts through my IRA was a no-brainer. Donating part of my required minimum distribution (RMD)* from the IRA allows us to give a lot more than we could otherwise and reduces our taxation income," shares John. "We want to be helpful and will keep giving to support students."

*The RMD has been waived for 2020, per the CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020. Please consult with your tax advisor on the benefits of giving through your IRA.

Look for the Helpers-Be a Helper

Help students in the future— HOW TO GIVE.

John spent the majority of his career as a stockbroker with Piper Jaffray and then UBS Financial Services. Linda shares that John's success comes from his strong ethics. "He has always been trustworthy—someone who keeps his clients' best interests in mind. Even after retiring 10 years ago, he has maintained friendships with many colleagues and clients," she says.

Create Your Concordia Legacy

Make a lasting impact by making a planned gift through your estate. There are many ways to make a lasting impact by making a planned gift through your estate. Contact Trina Hall at 218.299.3445 or [email protected] today, to learn more.

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