Annual Conference Keynote Speakers Announced – Habitat for Humanity, YMCA & Johns Hopkins University

Monday, November 30, 2015

Plans are well underway for the 2016 LSA Annual Conference, April 25 – 28 in Minnesota. The largest event of the year, the Annual Conference continues to build and celebrate LSA's national, strong and trusted network, bringing together hundreds of Lutheran social ministry leaders. At the conference, we'll focus on mission, impact and innovation – and how our network of social ministry organizations comes together to transform lives and communities.  

We are pleased to welcome a dynamic slate of speakers for the Annual Conference, both from within our social ministry network and outside the network, and excited to announce our keynoters:

Jonathan Reckford, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity: Under Reckford's leadership, Habitat for Humanity has grown from partnering with 25,000 families annually to more than 300,000 a year in the U.S. and more than 70 countries. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization founded in 1976, Reckford leads Habitat in its efforts to provide home construction, rehabilitation and repairs and to increase access to improved shelter through products and services. His vision for the organization is founded on the belief that simple, decent and stable housing can provide a pathway out of poverty.

Reckford will share his faith-inspired journey with attendees as well as talk about how Habitat has cultivated innovative partnerships that expand their scope of services and reach new and diverse audiences.

Jonathan Lever, Vice President for Health Strategy & Innovation, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA): For more than a decade, Lever has been the chief architect and leader of the Y's response to the nation's lifestyle health crisis. Lever's strategic vision has helped establish ‘the Y' as an indispensable community-based partner in public health at the national level, building public and private partnerships with premier health organizations. His efforts have helped build the organization into one of the nation's leading nonprofits, serving 22 million men, women and children in more than 10,000 communities, working to improve the nation's health and well-being.

In just the last five years, the Y-USA evolved its traditional model of community services and is now a national health care provider, partnering with national and local entities to provide low cost health programs. Lever will inspire us with his message of how national nonprofit networks can leverage their local reach and collective resources to transform communities and share how the Y-USA partnered with the National Institutes of Health to grow a population health initiative that has established the Y as an indispensable community-based partner in public health at the national level.

Dr. Kathryn Edin, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University: Dr. Edin is one of the nation's preeminent poverty researchers and authors, having published five books and over 50 journal articles. Her latest acclaimed book, "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America," looks at the 1.5 million American households, including about three million children, surviving on virtually no income. Dr. Edin is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, and works in the domains of welfare and low-wage work, family life, and neighborhood contexts.

Dr. Edin provides a fascinating look at the survival strategies of the desperately poor, the role that we play in our communities and what can be done at the national level to address poverty and inequality in America. Join Dr. Edin as she shares her perspective on the vital role steady jobs, safe places to live, community ties and dignity play in lifting people out of poverty.
In addition to her keynote address, Dr. Edin will also facilitate a panel discussion with other social ministry leaders to discuss what we – as individuals, organizations, and a national network of health and human service providers – can be doing to break the cycle of poverty for the desperately poor.

Mark your calendar to join us to hear from these and other speakers from across the public, private and nonprofit sectors, including many perspectives from LSA members. Registration will open soon!  

2016 LSA Annual Conference
April 25-28, 2016
Hilton Minneapolis
Minneapolis, MN

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