WASHINGTON — Lutheran Services in America, a national network of 300 health and human services organizations that improve the health and quality of life of one in 50 Americans each year, presented member organizations Genacross Lutheran Services and Lutheran Social Services of New York with the first of two new annual awards: The Innovator Award and The Micah Award. The awards reflect the Lutheran Services in America core values of seeking innovative solutions to transform the lives of people and lifting up the diversity of people, communities and ideas.
Genacross Lutheran Services received The Innovator Award, which recognizes members for pioneering new solutions and practices for solving complex issues and extending beyond its own mission to strengthen the Lutheran social ministry network. Genacross Lutheran Services, serving northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, continued to work through the COVID-19 pandemic to develop and implement LSA Senior Connect, a new model of care that enables seniors to age in the home and community of their choosing. The scalable framework for LSA Senior Connect will allow managed care providers across the country to improve health outcomes while also reducing costs. Genacross Lutheran Services has conducted over 1,700 assessments and identified more than 600 gaps in care, of which over 85 percent have been addressed to date.
“LSA Senior Connect has allowed us to effectively meet the needs of our affordable housing residents in a manner that retains their independence,” said Rick Marshall, president and CEO of Genacross Lutheran Services. “With the collaboration of fellow Lutheran Services in America members, we look forward to scaling this new framework to serve older adults across America, enabling them to remain healthy and independent as they age.”
Lutheran Services in America awarded Lutheran Social Services of New York with The Micah Award, which recognizes members for exhibiting outstanding leadership in addressing justice, mercy and equity and exemplifies the spirit of Micah 6:8, “Act justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” In response to the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, Lutheran Social Services of New York transformed its services to incorporate social justice practices to better serve its communities. In so doing, Lutheran Social Services of New York upended the status quo by shifting its focus from a social service organization to a social change organization. This transformation included the creation of a Civic Engagement Committee and a strategic plan that positions the organization as an effective catalyst of social change, collaborating with others to dismantle the effects persistent with poverty and social injustice.
“As we underwent this journey, we realized quickly how important it was for social change to be an ingrained facet of our work,” said Damyn Kelly, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of New York. “In the end, we revolutionized how we wanted to serve our community out of a necessity to do better. Our commitment to dismantle the causes and effects of persistent poverty and social injustice promises to make us stronger advocates for those we serve.”
Charlotte Haberaecker, president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America, presented the awards to Genacross Social Services and Lutheran Social Services of New York on March 24 at the organization’s Annual Membership Meeting. “While we received many worthy nominations that demonstrated the leadership, reach and work of the Lutheran Services in America network, we are proud to present the first of our new annual awards to two recipients who performed incredible work that represent our core values,” said Ms. Haberaecker. “These latest efforts by Genacross Lutheran Services and Lutheran Social Services of New York are not only lifting up the communities in which they serve but the entire Lutheran Services in America network as a result.”
Other award nominees from across the country included Gemma Services, KenCrest Centers, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri, Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, and Mill Neck for The Innovator Award and Lutheran Services Carolinas, Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey, Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat, and Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois for The Micah Award.
About Lutheran Services in America
Lutheran Services in America is a national network of Lutheran social ministry organizations — connecting over 300 health and human service providers located throughout the country. Recognized by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Forbes as one of the nation’s largest nonprofits, the Lutheran Services in America network operates with more than $22 billion in annual revenue and over 250,000 member employees. Together, the network lifts up the nation’s most vulnerable people from children to seniors — making a difference in the lives of one in 50 Americans every year. To learn more, visit www.lutheranservices.org.