Communities of Practice

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lutheran Financial Managers Association (LFMA) Convenes in Sunny San Diego

Thirty-four of the top financial minds representing LSA member and associated Lutheran organizations gathered in San Diego for the annual Lutheran Financial Managers Association (LFMA) meeting on October 9-11, 2016, to share best practices, network, and explore new trends in financial management. In addition to being in beautiful and warm San Diego, it was a fantastic conference, focusing on everything from new FASB regulations to growth strategies to the new federal overtime law.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

LSA Results Based Leadership Institute–Achieving Measurable Impact for Vulnerable Youth

Is it possible to improve high school graduation rates, or reduce the number of homeless youth in our communities by December 2017? These questions and others were explored on September 15th and 16th, when leaders from 10 LSA member organizations traveled to Washington D.C. for the first LSA Results Based Leadership Institute (RBLI). Results Based Leadership is a highly regarded leadership development program developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation for health and human service providers, and it combines results based leadership techniques with hands on implementation. At the start of this session, each LSA member committed to making a measureable impact toward the goal of ensuring that All children in the US are nurtured and on a pathway to successful adulthoodby December 2017. This is a very ambitious goal to achieve in a short period of time, but operating with a sense of urgency and call to action is a key component of the RBLI. LSA is offering this unique opportunity to LSA members through a partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation who is generously covering the cost of the RBLI faculty, AECF design staff and travel expenses for participants. I am so proud of this partnership, because this is what we strive to do at LSA--bring resources and opportunities to LSA member organizations to help strengthen Lutheran social ministry organizations and improve the lives of the most vulnerable.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Beginning the Road to Resilience

No metro. No car. No Uber. I walked. For my first two weeks, in the blazing, DC summer heat, I chose to walk the 30 minutes from my temporary place of residency to the headquarters of Lutheran Services in America (LSA). Aside from collecting rare Pokémon along the way, I walked to get a feel for DC, a place that I would be calling home for the next year. As I walked, I was captivated by the scenery. I marveled at the ambitious people: locals waiting for the bus, little children walking to day camp, joggers, Hill interns, White House staffers, tourists, and government officials. My daily walk to LSA confirmed that the road to resilience for this Buffalonian would be one full of growth and adventure.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

LSA-DN Convenes for Summer Meeting in a Brand New Way

Last week, Cedar Lake hosted 30+ Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN) members at their corporate headquarters in Louisville, KY for the LSA-DN 2016 Summer Meeting. In an effort to better understand each other's organizations, we decided to forgo holding our summer meeting in a hotel, as we have in past years, so that we could take a deeper look at a member organization. And to my surprise, everyone preferred meeting in a member conference room with meals brought in by Panera and snacks from the grocery store as opposed to the carefully curated environment of a hotel! DN members were able to better grasp how the host organization, Cedar Lake, was delivering long-term services and supports to people with disabilities and how they might be able to partner with, learn from, or help grow Cedar Lake.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Most Famous Lutherans

Early in July, I traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to represent LSA at The 66th Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). As a lifelong member of the LCMS, one of LSA’s affiliate church bodies, I know that this church body has a steadfast commitment to their faith, their history, and the work of mercy professed that Christ calls us to. As I wandered the exhibit hall to find our booth, I felt both excited and disappointed to find that our booth sat right across from those who some consider to be the most famous Lutherans in the country – the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs. I was excited because, well, I would get to be around loving dogs for four days. But I was disappointed because it would make it much harder, nearly impossible, to get the attention of people near these Lutheran celebrities.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Unconditionally Committed to Children

How can we prepare youth aging out of child welfare to be happy, productive adults? Is it important to for youth to have a permanent, positive adult relationship as they age out of the foster care system? How can we help them establish and maintain these relationships? These and many other questions were raised by members at the June meeting of LSA’s second learning cohort with the Provider Exchange®. The cohort met in New York at The Children’s Village, a nonprofit organization that works with children and families, to discuss improving permanency outcomes – both formal and informal – for youth aging out of the child welfare system.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

A Space for Stories

After a late flight back the night before from a training with an LSA member in North Carolina, I felt a bit groggy as I entered the Falls Church, Virginia office of LSA member Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA). Housed in an old Lutheran church, this location manages adoption and refugee and immigrant services.
I was there to volunteer with LSA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Tania Hernandez-Andersen, interns Nura Zaki and Danielle Steinwart of the Valparaiso University CAPS Fellows Program, and Member Engagement Fellow Natalie Goodnow of Harvard University’s Kennedy School.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Working with Purpose

Language matters.

When people ask what I do, I usually respond, “I work in government relations for a nonprofit organization.”

Right away I’m telling the person I am speaking with what my organization does not do.

No other industry says what it is not. Where Mosaic falls under the Internal Revenue Code does not define our organization’s mission.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

How Do We Know When We’re Making a Difference?

What makes the LSA network so unique? In the words of LSA President and CEO Charlotte Haberaecker, "we grow and we do." It is in the "doing together" that our network of Lutheran social ministry organizations achieves true impact. It is in the doing that we combine our collective strength to achieve better outcomes for the people we serve.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Connection between Church and Social Ministry

Being part of this broader faith community called Lutheran means that our work in social ministry has longstanding connections with the Church. LSA is aligned with two national Lutheran Church bodies, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). This affiliation takes shape through our bylaws, our Board of Directors and our members, who are affiliated with or recognized by one or both Church bodies. Our members are very closely connected with their Synods, Districts and congregations in their communities.

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