Today’s Front Line Hero: The Village On The Isle

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

June 30, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is The Village On The Isle, which showed gratitude to the high school seniors employed there by throwing them a prom. The Village On The Isle (VOTI) is a large retirement community in Venice, Florida, with 450 residents and 300 employees. Many of those employees are..

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Fed Acknowledges “Critical Role” Nonprofits Play

June 02, 2020

By: Sarah Dobson & Christopher Findlay

The Federal Reserve Board continues to develop guidelines for the Main Street Lending Program. Authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this low-interest loan program for mid-sized businesses with up to 15,000 employees provides funding to be used to retain at least 90 percent of the..

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Today’s Front Line Hero: The Sharing Place

June 01, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is the Sharing Place, which is working to meet the growing need for food assistance in Jersey City, NJ. The COVID-19 pandemic brought economic devastation, and many residents in New Jersey are recently unemployed and struggling with delays in assistance from the state. Food pantries are..

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Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Volunteer Corps

May 29, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and their incredible volunteers who continue to serve during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC) places recent college graduates (“volunteers”) in full-time service positions at social-justice organizations across the US for one or two years of service. The volunteers develop broad..

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Today’s Front Line Hero: NYU Langone

May 28, 2020

By: Caitlyn Gudmundsen

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and their incredible volunteers who continue to serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Reflections: In gratitude for all that you do

As leaders of organizations centered and rooted in faith, we draw strength from each other as we persist in our mission to bring hope and healing to people.

I began a weekly CEO Update at the start of the pandemic because I thought it was important to stay in touch and communicate through a dark and uncertain time. As one of the largest nonprofit health and human services networks that cares for one in 50 people in America, we were hit especially hard by the pandemic.

While some CEO Updates were about important advocacy issues or programs, others were more reflective. I always received feedback from member CEOs on the reflections—notes like “I really needed that today” which kept me going.

One of my board members suggested that I compile the reflections together. As I look back, it’s clear that where we thought we’d be along the way changed—often—and mostly in ways that brought more challenges and hardships to Lutheran social ministry.

What was also clear was the extraordinary leadership, creativity and perseverance that you and leaders throughout the network demonstrated—examples of true leadership to adapt to never-before-seen situations and lead your teams with grace and courage. Lutheran social ministry stood up when we were most needed and you and your teams are the Front Line Heroes that we lift up for your life-saving work.

These Reflections are dedicated to you—for your remarkable leadership and our extraordinary journey together.



Extravagance of Grace

Today is the 505th anniversary of the Reformation when Martin Luther shared his theological insight that God’s gift of grace in Jesus Christ frees us from being focused on ourselves and opens us to care for others. Or as CEO Summit Theologian-in-Residence Pastor Mark Huber once put it, “it means it’s not about us.”

How is this relevant or reflected in Lutheran social ministry organizations today?

The foundation of our work is that all people have dignity and worth—not because of anything they do or don’t do but simply because they are—and that they are valued by God. As Lutheran social ministry, we create the space where people experience God’s grace through our care and compassion. It’s the why behind our work and reflected in how we do our work, in relationship with our neighbor, no matter who are neighbor is, where they’re from, or what they do.

So why does this matter?

God’s grace is extravagant and is revealed in the beauty and light we let into people’s lives, to remove the barriers that hold them back from achieving their potential and to empower them to realize their dreams. It’s why we persevere despite having to continually pivot and be stretched and stressed. It’s our calling, our vocation.

In the midst of our challenges and an uncertain future, may we remember that our presence matters, that our work brings more light and beauty into people’s lives, and that we do not do this work alone.