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The Westwood Lutheran Memorial Foundation is an instrument which enables members, friends, and family of Westwood Lutheran Church to leave legacy gifts that benefit the church’s programming, its mission, and its outreach to others. 


Through six areas of interest, donors may specify the focus of their donation.

The Endowment Fund - Westwood Ministries

The Endowment fund has the flexibility to support current Westwood initiatives, whatever they may be. Each year the Foundation board partners with Westwood Leadership to identify opportunities that support the Mission and Ministry of Westwood.

Endowment Fund
Adult Education

Your gifts directly benefit personal growth for yourself and others through lifelong learning. Giving to these two funds provides speakers and discussions on current issues with biblical and theological bases. 

Donald C. Bell Adult Education Fund

This fund was established in 1992 upon the death of Dr. Donald C. Bell, a prominent member of Westwood, founding member and past President of the foundation. Dr. Bell was instrumental in guiding the Foundation and actively promoting its objectives. He was also an ardent believer in the need for continuing adult Christian education at Westwood. Grants from this fund finance special adult education features at Westwood, such as The Bell Memorial Lecture Series, which is particularly oriented toward the use of Luther Seminary professors to bring high-quality theological teaching to Westwood members.

Prazak Visiting Scholar Fund

This fund was established in 2007 by Jan, Paul and Lisa (Koes) Prazak in memory of husband and father Gary Prazak. Both Jan and Gary have been long-time members of Westwood with Jan also serving on the Foundation Board of Directors. This fund is a memorial to Gary's continuing interest in biblical and theological studies and in contemporary issues that influence the life of the church and its members. Grants from the Prazak Visiting Scholar Fund are to be used to provide lectures and forums that deal with significant issues in religion, and to invite recognized scholars to address and discuss these issues.

Adult Education
Art & Music

Artistry in many forms has long been an integral part of Westwood’s worship. We are blessed to have several funds that support music and art. The Ronald A Nelson fund allows for us to put on unique musical events that include many of our members, and members of our community. The Ralph and Dee Martinson fund helps us to purchase and maintain Christian art. These pieces are used to give members and others an appreciation of Christian art and to tell the story of our faith.

The Music Program Fund

This fund was originally established in 1973 with memorial money given in honor of Lorraine Langemo, Westwood's first organist. The primary purpose of this fund is to provide resources for the use and enhancement of music as a worship medium, including the use of paid special musicians for festival services, purchase or rental of special music for worship and festival purposes, and perhaps rental of certain instruments or equipment.

Named Funds established under the 'Music Program Fund' include:

Kristie Thompson Memorial Fund

Established as a memorial to Kristie Thompson who was a member of Westwood and a singer in the A Cappella Choir for many years. She was an ardent devotee of the Westwood music program under Ronnie Nelson. She died in 1991 and left a large gift through a life insurance policy to WLMF to be used for Westwood music programs.

Stan and Esther Crist Music Fund

This fund was initially established in 2006 by Stan Crist as a memorial to his wife, Esther, who was a past member of the Westwood A Cappella Choir and who very much loved the music programs at Westwood. Stan and Esther joined Westwood in November 1970 and immediately became active volunteers in many ways. One of the most visible volunteer acts of the Crists, and a ministry in its own right, was the planting and maintaining each summer of beautiful flower gardens surrounding Westwood church. Stan is a master gardener and loves to share this God given talent with the Westwood congregation and the surrounding community.

Ralph & Dee Martinson Art Fund

The Ralph and Dee Martinson Art Fund was established in 2004, in response to requests from congregational members for Foundation grants to support the display of Christian art works. With approval from family members, a portion of the gift from the Ralph and Delores Martinson estate was used to establish this fund in order to honor their memory.

Grants from the fund are used to purchase and maintain works of art that will complement the worship and spiritual experience at Westwood. Art pieces may be purchased outright or commissioned through the WLMF as wishes of the congregation arise. Ralph and Dee were long time, active members of Westwood and showed a special love for its rich heritage of worship, music and art.

Ralph was a WLMF founder and past president and also served as congregational president. He used his artistic gifts to express devotion to God and his family in bronze sculptures which includes the 1st Peter plaque on display in the church and the cross that is used to lead the processional each Sunday.

Ronald Nelson Appreciation Fund

This fund was established by grateful Westwood Lutheran Church members in 1992 at the retirement of Ronnie Nelson in appreciation of his 37 years of service to the church, its choirs, and particularly his development and leading of children's choirs that became nationally known and emulated in many churches.

Grants from this fund provide resources for Westwood to sponsor or produce special or unique musical events fitting to the Christian tradition that may be community outreach as well as extensions of the normal music agenda of the church. This could include payment for guest artists, purchase or rental of music or equipment, and communications related to the event.

Art and Music

Westwood Lutheran Church has a long history of helping those in our community get through difficult times. When unfortunate circumstances strike, we are able to provide help for transportation, clothing, food, rent. The fund also supports Habitat for Humanity. Another function of Outreach is providing funds for the beautiful gardens at Westwood. They provide beauty and splendor for the community and a welcome for worshipers.

Darleen Hysen Community Mission Fund

This fund was established by the WLMF Board in 1997 with memorial gifts given to honor Darleen Hysen. Darleen was a long-time member of Westwood and a WLMF Director who had been involved in many aspects of Westwood's ministry, including the A Cappella Choir, youth, and congregational president. Darleen was very influential in community outreach programs of various sorts, particularly the Habitat for Humanity program. Grants from the fund are directed toward providing financial resources to Westwood Lutheran Church's Habitat for Humanity program or any similar types of programs that might be deemed by the Directors to exemplify Darleen's concern and outreach toward the less fortunate.

Don Hansen Caring Ministry Fund

A predecessor fund, the Don Hansen Stephen Ministry Scholarship fund, was established in memory of Pastor Don Hansen, who was Westwood's Pastor of Evangelism and Outreach from 1979 to 1984. He was largely responsible for forming Westwood's Stephen Minister Program which trained over 200 lay persons as volunteer care providers to others needing special support in times of illness or personal or family distress. In the mid-1990's, the Stephen Minister program at Westwood ended. The fund was then re-chartered, and the scope broadened to be inclusive of a variety of training avenues and programs directed toward helping and caring skills. This training primarily applies to Westwood lay persons but could also fit the special needs of clergy.

Fund for the Homeless

This fund was established in 1989 to provide aid to the homeless through organized shelter programs such as that operated by Our Savior's Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis or by the Families Moving Forward organization. Grants from this fund provide aid to the homeless through grants distributed directly to the providers of shelter.

Good Samaritan Fund

This fund was established in 1980 with a major gift from Conrad and Marie Posz, members of Westwood, for the purpose of providing a living memorial fund to help individuals or families in immediate need for the essentials of life. The earnings from this fund may go each year directly to the congregation's own budget for this purpose, or to the Senior Pastor's Emergency Fund. Typical purposes intended for this fund are for groceries, rent, transportation, clothing, or other basic costs. Recipients can be either Westwood members or non-members.

Named Funds established under the 'Good Samaritan Fund' include:

Albert Johnson Memorial Fund

Established in 1991 by Lois and Kenneth Coon in memory of Lois's father, Albert Johnson. Lois is a founder and past Director of the WLMF.

The Conrad A. and Marie Posz Good Samaritan Fund

Initially established the Good Samaritan Fund.

James and Barbara Lanenberg Fund

Established by the Lanenberg's because of their concern for the basic welfare and needs of individuals and families. James served many years as a Director of the WLMF.

Youth Development

Strengthening and supporting all ages of youth at Westwood Lutheran Church as they develop, share and witness their Lutheran experiences within the church as well as out in our community and world. 

African Youth Bridge-Building Fund

This endowed fund was established in 2007 as a memorial to Tom Larson, son of Roland and Doris Larson, to encourage three shared loves that the Larson family values highly – youth, Westwood Lutheran Church and Africa. Grants from this fund are to be used to encourage Westwood and African youth to meet, share, and learn about each other. This fund is also meant to serve as a catalyst for attracting additional gifts to help with more immediate needs and expenditures.

Kaari Thoni Youth Education Fund

The Kaari Thoni Youth Education Fund was established in 2005 in memory of Kaari Thoni, daughter of Reverend Lee and Pat Thoni. It was formed from the merger of the Early Childhood Center Fund and the Education Program Fund along with additional Kaari Thoni memorial money donations. Grants from the Kaari Thoni Youth Education fund are to be used to help meet the Christian educational needs of Westwood children; either in the WECC or Sunday school. The goal is to help all children to encounter God's love and teachings. The fund will offer financial assistance for educational materials, as well as overnight/day camp scholarships. Kaari was passionate about helping children attend camps.

Tom Hunstad Caring Youth Memorial Fund

This fund was initially established in 1989 as the Caring Youth Fund to create Westwood's Caring Youth Award program. Doris and Roland Larson initiated the Caring Youth Award in memory of the death of their grandson, Tommy Wipf. With substantial monetary support from the Larsons, plus other donations from supporters in memory of Tommy Wipf, the fund has grown substantially. In addition, Pastor Tom Hunstad promoted the Caring Youth concept to the national level and it has been adopted elsewhere in the metro area.

In 2001 the purpose of the fund was expanded to allow grants from the fund to be made for additional youth and adult leader promotions and rewards that serve to strengthen the youth program at Westwood. The fund name was also changed to recognize the outstanding youth work of Pastor Tom Hunstad, his strong support of the Caring Youth program, and his strong leadership in national Lutheran youth programs.


Undergraduate and Seminary scholarship for members of Westwood continuing their education in Lutheran colleges and universities. 

Engen Family Lutheran College Fund

The result of a generous gift to the Foundation from the estate of Millard and Marlys Engen, this fund offers financial support for members of Westwood Lutheran Church and their Lutheran college bound children. The student must be enrolled full time in an undergraduate, degreed program at a Lutheran college. Watch the Westwood eNews for announcements regarding applications.

Seminary Scholarship Fund

This fund was established by the foundation board in 1999 to provide financial support to Westwood members who are engaged in degree programs at a qualified Lutheran seminary. Many Westwood members supported the concept of a fund for providing the needed financial help. However, until the fund reaches assets of $20,000 scholarship grants will be made from the Endowment Fund.

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