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Lutheran Services in America Tops List of Nonprofits Again

Nov 19, 2002 03:00 AM EST

CHICAGO -- With more than $7.6 billion of income in 2001,Lutheran Services in America (LSA) topped The NonProfit Times' list ofthe United States' 100 largest nonprofit organizations for the thirdyear in a row. The publication released the "NPT 100" Nov.1, with theNational Council of YMCAs listed second and the American Red Crossthird.

Based in Baltimore, LSA is an alliance of the Evangelical LutheranChurch in America (ELCA), the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) andtheir 280 social ministry organizations. The independent health andhuman service organizations serve more than three million people in3,000 communities across the United States and the Caribbean each year.

Jill Schumann, LSA's president and CEO, told the publication theorganization's jump to the top of the NPT 100 in 1999 could probably becredited to a larger number of Lutheran hospitals reporting in 1999 thanin 1998.

In a recent speech to Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio,Columbus, Ohio, Schumann said the size of LSA is due in part to amultiplication of care that spans more than a century. "Each Lutheransocial ministry organization can tell a series of stories of faithfulpeople, who, refreshed by the wellspring of Christ's love, directed thatcare to others," she said.

"Whether the need was for a place to care for aging people in arural community or for services for those marginalized by city life,Lutherans simply responded with little fanfare," said Schumann.

Schumann cited statistics for Lutheran health and human servicesorganizations: about 105,000 people were in residential care; 2,768children were placed in adoptions; 127,672 children were cared for infoster care; 780,708 people received social services; and the incomes of64 percent of clients receiving social services were below the federalpoverty level.

"It has been said that LSA is one of the best kept secrets in ourland," said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA. "Itis also true that one in 50 people in this country have been served by aministry of LSA," he said.

The "incredible work" of Lutheran social ministry organizations"is reflected in the number of ELCA congregations involved in theirservice programs. This church is grateful to God for their ministry ofwitness and service," said the bishop.

Hanson noted that the Lutheran "Affirmation of Baptism" includes avow to continue in the covenant with God to "serve all people, followingthe example of our Lord Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace inall the earth." He added, "How wonderful it is to see this example ofservice and striving for justice through the work of Lutheran Servicesin America."

The NonProfit Times recorded LSA's total income for 2001 at$7,654,955,732. The YMCAs had $4,123,080,000, and the American RedCross had $2,711,606,718.

The top 10 of the NPT 100 included Catholic Charities USA, UnitedJewish Communities, Goodwill Industries International, Salvation Army,Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, Boys & Girls Clubs ofAmerica, and American Cancer Society.

The NonProfit Times reported the sources of LSA's income in 2001as $2.8 million from program services, almost $2.8 billion fromgovernment, about $1.75 billion from public support, more than $218million from "other" and $90 million from investments. It listed $25million as "in kind" contributions.

LSA expenses in 2001 totaled almost $7.57 billion, according toThe NonProfit Times. It said LSA spent more than $7.03 billion onprograms, about $510 million on administration and about $22.5 millionon fund-raising.

By Linda Green