Donor Spotlight: David and Barbara Swartling

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Force Multipliers in Love and Service to Our Neighbor 

David and Barbara Swartling

A strong sense of community, faith and service is in the Swartling family DNA.  A commitment to stewardship has been a guiding light throughout Barbara and David Swartlings’ 48-year marriage. Their work and support of Lutheran social ministry is a reflection of how Lutherans live out their faith.

 When asked what they have learned about service in their life together, Barbara and David both emphasize community and the importance of neighbors working together to build the opportunities people need to thrive and achieve their full potential. As Barbara points out, “community is much more than a place. It is lives interconnected with one another.” David adds that stewardship is a whole-life value: “The beauty of God’s gifts is that they’re ours to steward. Our whole life is part of this ecosystem that’s magnificently designed to support and nurture life.”

 David retired recently after a 40-year career as a trial attorney in Seattle. Outside his practice, David taught litigation skills to paralegals and young lawyers, and served on local and national boards, including ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  Barbara enjoyed a successful career in banking and served on the boards of Bainbridge Schools Foundation and the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce.  She was one of the earliest female members of the Bainbridge Island Kiwanis Club. Together, David and Barbara raised two sons and were active in many church and school activities.

 In 2007, David was elected Secretary of the ELCA, the first layperson to hold this position. Shortly after moving to Chicago, Barbara became Executive Director of the ELCA Deaconess Community. These calls transformed their lives; not only were their views of vocation further expanded, but so was the importance of stewardship for them both.

 In 2013, the Swartlings returned home to Bainbridge Island, where they continue to grow their leadership and service work. Their dedication inspires others to join them. Today, Barbara serves on the board of the Bainbridge Community Foundation, and David serves on the boards of Lutheran Services in America and Compass Housing Alliance. Both also regularly volunteer at Helpline House, Bainbridge Island’s social service agency.

 “Barbara and I are grateful for the opportunity to advance Lutheran Services in America’s efforts,” David notes. “We feel there’s an exponential return on investment when we support this unique organization. Our dollars help to make a national impact while achieving local results, and we find that an incredibly rewarding balance.”

Barbara agrees. “Increasing our support means we can strengthen Lutheran Services in America’s advocacy efforts for America’s most vulnerable people, and fuel innovative pilot programs that are making a tangible, measurable impact on so many people, families and communities,” she added.

 Indeed, throughout their lives, the Swartlings have created a multiplier effect – from their local congregation to Lutheran Services in America’s national office – their work has had a truly transformational impact on the lives of people and communities.

 Please consider multiplying Barbara and David’s contributions by making a gift to Lutheran Services in America this holiday season. Support from generous people brings our 300+ network of Lutheran social ministry organizations together to transform the lives of people and communities across the United States.

 Write a message of thanks to Barbara and David in the comments below.

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