A Tradition of Compassion, Service, and Innovation

Shared values, rooted deeply in the Lutheran Church, have inspired generations to uniquely come together in service. Every generation, in ways that were innovative for their time, contributed to the fundamental commitment to provide compassionate care and holistic well-being for those leading lives of service to the church.

Over 200 years ago, as an act of charity, the Lutheran Church began providing benefits to families of pastors who died while in service to the church.

The Early Years

First Lutheran Synod in U.S.

The Lutheran Church begins paying benefits to widows of pastors.

First Lutheran Pension Fund established.

First corporate pension plan established in the U.S.

The church creates a new plan for congregations and clergy to contribute to retirement.

U.S. law allows ordained ministers to contribute to and receive, Social Security upon retirement.

American Lutheran Church adopts first retirement plan for pastors and lay employees.

What began as charity evolved into a crucial commitment to the well-being of those who serve in the church, social ministry organizations, and higher education.

An Era of Growth Together

Social injustice and apartheid discussed in the church.

ELCA constituted by uniting three church bodies, 285 social ministry organizations, and other entities that address human needs.

First ELCA health plan is launched.

Social purpose funds established in alignment with ELCA social teachings and policies.

First Group Retirement Plan created for social ministry organizations.

During Churchwide Assembly, Special Needs Retirement Fund established for those with limited means.

Helped create first coalition to negotiate cost-effective prescription drugs.

Holistic well-being introduced with online health assessment.

Wholeness Wheel created, symbolizing the ELCA’s wellness model.

Retirement Planning Group formed to provide 1:1 support for clergy nearing retirement.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offered to provide members with emotional support.

HRAs and FSAs made available to members.

Portico continues to build on the legacy of our predecessors, leveraging the latest technology and advancements to help support holistic well-being.

Innovation for the Times

Individualized retirement tracking report developed for members.

Health plan options expanded for healthcare reform.

Care Coordinators introduced to help members navigate complicated health issues.

Retirement Planning Tool helps sponsored members better plan for retirement.

First-of-its kind wellness platform released, allowing members to tailor their experience.

  • Retirement
  • Health
  • Wellness

Source: Portico Historical Perspective 2018
Portico Benefit Services was formerly known as the ELCA Board of Pensions.