(Click for larger version)
Stained glass windows from the Valparaiso University Chapel
that were donated by Mr. Al Munderloh.
The Munderloh Foundation was founded in 1959 by Mr. and Mrs.
Alfred C. Munderloh, members of St. James Lutheran Church of
Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, for the purpose of helping to fund
the educational costs of men and women studying for the ministry and
teaching careers in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS).
As a teenager, Mr. Munderloh's ambition was to become a Lutheran
minister, but because of family economic circumstances he was
unable to fulfill that ambition. Instead, he eventually became
Southeast Michigan sales manager for Investors Diversified
Services ("IDS", now a part of American Express). Mr. Munderloh's success as a salesman was based,
in part, on his goal of having salespeople working under him, in
turn, recruit other salespeople in order to expand the IDS
business. He felt that those people familiar with the sales-end of the business were in the
best position to recruit others to a sales career because of their
familiarity with sales and marketing.
Near the end of his working career, Mr. Munderloh consulted with
the Pastor of St. James, the Reverend George E. Kurz, and several
other members of the St. James congregation, expressing his desire
to help financially support candidates for the Lutheran ministry in need of financial aid for their educations.
With the advice of these people, the Foundation was established in
June of 1959 and commenced operations by awarding scholarship grants to twenty-three
college and seminary students intending to enter the Lutheran
ministry or pursue teaching careers in the LCMS.
The idea of a "Challenge Grant" scholarship was instituted as a result of Mr. Munderloh's
work experience at IDS where he challenged his salespeople to
recruit others to the mission of expanding the business. Hence, each
scholarship grant recipient is asked to recruit another person to the parish
ministry. This commitment is evidenced by the Foundation's
Challenge Grant Agreement form.
The Foundation received its operating funds during its early years
from contributions received from Mr. and Mrs. Munderloh.
Following their deaths in the mid-1970s, substantially all of the assets of
their estates passed to the Foundation to fund an endowment for its
In the late 1970s, the St. James congregation voted to leave the
LCMS. The Foundation, however, continued to support LCMS
colleges and seminaries as well as non-LCMS Lutheran seminaries, with scholarship
funds being distributed on a one-third/two-thirds basis between the LCMS and non-LCMS schools. The
Foundation phased-out scholarship aid to undergraduate students
in the mid-to-late 1980s, recognizing the increased sources of
financial aid available to them from other sources and the limited
scholarship funds available to seminary students. St. James
Church joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) upon its formation
in 1988. The Foundation then began supporting students at ELCA
seminaries while continuing to support students at two LCMS
seminaries, Concordia Theological Seminary - Ft. Wayne, Indiana and
Concordia Seminary - St. Louis, Missouri. In the early 1990s, the Foundation
decided to limit its support to the students of two ELCA seminaries in the midwest,
Trinity Lutheran Seminary - Columbus, Ohio and the Lutheran School of
Theology at Chicago - Chicago, Illinois, along with the students from the two LCMS
Today, the Foundation annually awards grants of $2,500 each to
seminary students. Since its inception, the Foundation
has awarded over 5,914 Grants totaling in excess of $7,101,482.