Faith-Based Organization Serves and is Supported by all Denominations

Alliance member Lutheran Social Services of New England (LSS), Wellesley, Mass., has a 138-year history of serving people in need, a tradition that began with the organization’s first program, the Martin Luther Orphans Home at Brook Farm.

LSS is one of the largest faith-based, multiservice human service organizations in New England—even though Lutherans number less than 0.5 percent of New England’s population.

With more than 60 programs located throughout the region and an annual budget of $74 million, LSS serves approximately 5,000 individuals on a daily basis, employs 1,600 staff, and benefits from the volunteerism of thousands of community residents.

LSS programs include a broad array of services. The organization provides services for children, teens, and families; new Americans; older adults; and adults with chronic disabilities, developmental disabilities, or deafness. The agency also provides low-income housing and a nationally acclaimed Good News Garage program, which was one of the first programs in the country to provide donated cars to low-income families so that they could move from welfare to work.

The LSS governing board has 18 directors who travel from all corners of New England for the board’s quarterly meetings. All current directors are Lutheran, although the bylaws require only a simple majority. Directors come from a variety of professions and walks of life, including Lutheran clergy and professionals in business, finance, and human care.

Several LSS programs, including Ruth House, Good News Garage, and eldercare residential programs, have advisory boards that support the work and missions of these specific programs. Advisory boards include some members of the governing board, but are comprised mostly of individuals who do not serve on the board.

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