Lutheran Services in America Honors Members with Second Annual Leadership Awards

Press Release
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

WASHINGTON — Lutheran Services in America, a nonprofit that harnesses a nationwide network of 300 health and human services organizations to empower communities across America, honored three of its members today with awards for their exceptional work and leadership. Samaritas, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area and Marian Baldini of KenCrest Services were recognized with The Innovator Award, The Micah Award and the premiere of The Paragon Award – The Ken Daly Award for Excellence in Mentorship, respectively.

The awards were presented to each winner during CEO Summit 2022. Lutheran Services in America launched The Innovator and The Micah Awards in 2021 to recognize distinguished organizations that reflect the Lutheran Services in America network’s core values of seeking innovative solutions to transform the lives of people and lifting up the diversity of people, communities and ideas. The Paragon Award debuts this year in honor of the late Ken Daly, a former Lutheran Services in America board member who was committed to ensuring that people — particularly children — had the opportunity to thrive and who served as an inspiring mentor to people throughout his career.

“We entered 2022 with yet another incredible group of award nominees who demonstrated our network’s commitment to delivering change that can truly transform lives,” said Charlotte Haberaecker, president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America. “We are especially pleased to add The Paragon Award this year to honor the legacy of the late Ken Daly as an exemplary mentor to so many. The 2022 leadership awards recognize the bold action and leadership taken by this year’s recipients to advance solutions and drive systemic change in the lives of people in their communities.”

Samaritas received The Innovator Award, which recognizes organizations that pioneer new solutions and practices to solve complex issues that extend beyond their own mission to strengthen the Lutheran social ministry network. Through its CARES (Caregiver Accessible Resource Education Services) program, the Detroit-based organization improves health outcomes for older adults by investing in the education of caregivers through a credentialed dementia care training program. Samaritas CARES empowers caregivers with new opportunities for behavioral observation and education through the use of assisted reality technology. The technology promises to mitigate the challenges of an ongoing workforce shortage by empowering caregivers and increasing their quality of life while maintaining a high quality of care for older adults.

“Through our partnerships with DCS, Google Glass, Vuzix, and 1 Minuut, this training supports caregivers in assisting older adults at home and maintaining their independence as long as possible while also reducing daunting health care costs. Our goal has always been to create a stronger community of caregivers to empower older adults to live with meaning, purpose and independence,” said Sam Beals, CEO of Samaritas. “It’s an honor to be recognized by Lutheran Services in America for this work.”

Lutheran Services in America awarded Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) in Washington, D.C., with The Micah Award, which recognizes organizations that exhibit 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.” LSSNCA mobilized to resettle nearly 4,000 Afghan Allies in the Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. area by providing immigration support, housing and job placements. In addition, LSSNCA continues to provide programs to unaccompanied youth from Central America, asylees from Cameroon, asylum-seekers from Haiti and Central America, and a COVID-safe outdoor getaway for youths who are living with, or whose parents have, HIV/AIDS.

“Welcoming others in need from around the world and accompanying them on their journey is who we are as Lutheran social ministry. Our diverse team has individuals from around the world who have taken similar journeys, which makes this recognition that much more special,” said Kristyn Peck, CEO of LSSNCA. “We greatly appreciate this award, which recognizes the importance of meeting the ever-increasing need for providing newcomers with support, housing, and job placement.”

Marian Baldini, the president and CEO of KenCrest Services in Pennsylvania, was presented The Paragon Award – The Ken Daly Award for Excellence in Mentorship. This new award recognizes a leader with an exceptional gift for spotting potential in people and who generously provides guidance, coaching and experience to lift up the next group of leaders. Baldini inspires a shared vision across KenCrest that people with intellectual disabilities can thrive in inclusive environments where they’re contributing in their communities. A true servant-leader who has never lost sight of her direct support professional experience, she has helped her team further their leadership skills and inspired a shared vision across KenCrest that people with intellectual disabilities can thrive in inclusive environments.

“The onset of the pandemic changed everything we knew about how to move our agency forward,” said Baldini. “Despite this, we’ve never wavered in our ability to explore possibilities, mobilize resources, and empower the dreams of those we support; and those of our talented staff who continue to navigate such a challenging time with courage and kindness. I am grateful to be recognized by Lutheran Services in America for the work we have accomplished.”

Additional organizations nominated for the 2022 Annual Membership Awards include Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, Metro Lutheran Ministry, Mosaic, Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat and Wernle Youth & Family Treatment Center.

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About Lutheran Services in America
Lutheran Services in America is a national network of 300 Lutheran health and human services organizations that works with one in 50 people in America each year. Recognized by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Forbes as one of the nation’s top nonprofit organizations, the Lutheran Services in America network operates with more than $22 billion in combined annual revenue. Headquartered in Washington, DC, Lutheran Services in America leads innovative collaborations with partners in philanthropy, academia, healthcare and others to address the most critical challenges in our communities and empower people to lead their best lives.

To learn more, visit lutheranservices.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.