Dr. Kay Conrad was born and raised for a life of service as a Lutheran.
Her church was a firm supporter of Lutheran Children’s Home of the South when she was a teenager, she married a Lutheran pastor, and she spent part of her career as the director of development with Lutheran Family Services (LFS).
Most recently, she was the first donor to LSC’s For the Children Endowment Fund which is designed to meet the future needs of children in North Carolina through innovative programs and services. The fund is part of LSC’s Be The Light campaign.
“LSC has just been part of my life for a very long time,” Conrad said. “It’s in my DNA.”
Conrad married her husband, Paul, immediately after he completed seminary. His first parish was Concordia Lutheran Church in China Grove, North Carolina. She said that first congregation taught her about life and relationships.
“I married very young, and I knew nothing as I look back now. People in that congregation were so patient with me and so loving,” she said. “But the one thing I did know how to do was church, because I’d done it all my life.”
Paul’s next church was in Statesville, North Carolina and then the couple moved to Winston-Salem where Paul became pastor at Epiphany Lutheran Church in 1971.
When Conrad decided to leave her job as an English teacher and pursue a different career path, she turned her attention to finding a full-time position in the church. As God would have it, LFS was searching for someone who had a relationship with Lutheran pastors and congregations to serve as director of church relations.
“It answered what I felt like was my call. It was just God’s timing,” she said.
In that role, Conrad got to know many of the nonprofit’s clients as well as its teammates.
“We trained a lot of young professionals in their chosen careers of social work. Seeing them grow and develop and then move into other jobs in the profession has been a pleasure,” she said. “We had a really great team.”
After two careers, one might think that Conrad would decide to retire. But during her time with LFS, she worked with GSB Fundraising & Nonprofit Consulting. She found that with her congregation connections, she had the skills and passion for supporting capital campaigns.
After retiring from LFS, Kay joined GSB as a consultant primarily working with congregations in North and South Carolina.
“I loved that work because it gets you in congregations and that feels like home to me,” she said. “Congregations are just like individuals. They are their own separate organisms, and they function in different ways, yet basically in the same way. It was just a great experience.”
Today, Conrad is still an active member of Epiphany Lutheran Church. She has since retired from GSB but said when she turned 80, she decided she wasn’t being as useful as God intended her to be.
So, she signed up to become a lay preacher through the NC Synod’s Lay Preaching Certification class. Lay preachers are scheduled through the NC Synod office to preach in congregations with leadership vacancies.
Through it all, she continues to support LSC, which was created with the coming together of LFS and Lutheran Services of the Aging (LSA).
Conrad knows many individuals who have been impacted by LSC’s programs and wants that work to continue.
“Even today I could name children in group homes that I got to know or refugee families,” she said. “When I look at LSC I see individuals, I don’t necessarily see this huge organization. And I think that’s the way LSC views all of its work, as individuals. That just makes you feel good about supporting the organization.”
By making a donation to the For the Children Endowment Fund, she knows she will be part of that work well into the future.
“I love to give to endowment funds because I think it’s a vehicle we have that really does pay a gift forward. It honors the past and keeps on giving long after I’m gone,” Conrad said. “An endowment fund lasts as long as an organization lasts, so I like the idea that 50 years from now when I’m no longer here, some child somewhere will be getting a benefit from my gift. That gives me great joy.”
For more information on the For the Children Endowment Fund and the Be The Light campaign visit https://lscarolinas.net/be-the-light/
About For the Children Endowment Fund
- To create a light that shines for years to come, LSC hopes to raise a total of $10 million in donations and legacy gifts within the next 10 years. The Be The Lightcampaign seeks to raise $1 million to establish this fund.
- Annual earnings from the endowment will be used to support services for children where they are needed most. These funds might be used to:
- Offset unanticipated decreases in funding
- Invest in training to support LSC’s clinical model of care for children, as well as ongoing updates and credentialing needs.
- Support training for youth in budgeting and financial matters.
- Invest in innovative tools to assess the needs of children coming into care.
- Provide direct assistance to children aging out of foster care, but below age 21, as they are seeking housing, education, and employment.
- Invest in updated software to help record and analyze the outcomes experienced by children in care.
- Provide support and services to survivors of human trafficking under the age of 21.