North Dakota State University joins Lutheran Services in America Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Lutheran Services in America, Incorporated (LSA) is pleased to announce an exciting addition to the Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative. North Dakota State University (NDSU), a top-100 research institution, will be the independent evaluator tasked with quantifying the impact of the Collaborative on seniors aging in rural communities.

In October 2015,  LSA brought together two of the LSA network’s senior services providers, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, forming the Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative. The Collaborative brings senior services providers together in an active learning community with a common mission to build a body of evidence for home and community-based services that are effective at helping low-income and vulnerable seniors remain in their homes; share learnings for faster adoption throughout the country; and partner effectively with health systems and other payment entities to ensure the long term financial sustainability of proven programs.

The evaluation, led by NDSU, will measure and evaluate the program efficacy of five models of service being implemented: volunteer companions, technology support for caregivers, supportive services for seniors living in affordable housing, aging life care managers, and community volunteer support. All programs aim to enable older adults to live longer in the home and community of their choice with dignity. The goal of the NDSU evaluation is to better understand the impact these programs have on older adults, their families and caregivers, and the communities in which they live. 

Dr. Heather Fuller, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Science and the lead project coordinator of the NDSU evaluation team shares, “Our team of gerontological researchers at NDSU are very excited to be involved in evaluating the effectiveness of these much needed and exciting programs. Minnesota and North Dakota are rapidly aging states that face unique needs because of the rurality of our region. The current lack of social services provided to rural older adults and their families is well documented, and LSA is perfectly situated and equipped to develop solutions to bridge the gap in rural eldercare supports. Not only does the Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative have the potential to improve the quality of life of seniors in the Midwest, but these innovative programs have the potential to impact how we care for our rural elders across the nation.”

LSA’s CEO Charlotte Haberaecker states, “This is ground breaking work we are undertaking as a network.  As one of the largest nationwide networks serving seniors, we are committed to compassionate care where people live with dignity, respect, independence and abundance.  The Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative strengthens supports for seniors and builds the knowledge required to enable seniors in rural areas to live longer in their home and community. Together with our partners, we hope to accomplish something extraordinary and share our learnings across the country.”

To learn more about the Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative, please contact Ariel Guerrero at

Lutheran Services in America, Incorporated (LSA) is one of the largest health and human services networks in the country with more than 300 members that provide a broad range of critical services from health care to children and family services, senior services, disaster relief, refugee services, disability support, housing, and employment support, among others. Collectively, LSA members serve 1 in 50 people each year in thousands of communities across the United States and are open to all regardless of their religious affiliation or social or economic background. The LSA network is ranked at #23 on the Philanthropy 400, an annual listing of top charitable groups, and has combined revenue of $21 billion. LSA is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, please visit

Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota (LSSND): LSS North Dakota’s roots go back to 1919, when the Lutheran Children’s Finding Society was formed to establish, maintain and conduct receiving homes for orphans, homeless, abandoned, neglected and dependent children. Across the decades, from the Great Depression to World War II, through the social changes of the 1950s and 1960s to the challenges of today, their services have expanded to meet the changing needs of individuals, families and communities across North Dakota. Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota is driven by their mission to bring healing, help and hope to those in need. Every day their dedicated staff and volunteers are guided by their vision and strategic initiatives to bring their mission to life as they work to provide the help people need, when and where they need it. Whether they are serving children, teenagers, parents, grandparents or entire communities — their goal is that those they serve will be strengthened for life. LSSND invites you to learn more about the programs and services they offer and the people they serve. To learn more, please visit

Lutheran Social Services Minnesota (LSSMN): Since 1865, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota has responded to Minnesota's changing needs by being wholly committed to making life better for our citizens. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota traces its history to 1865 when Vasa Lutheran Church opened its church to care for four children in need. Pastor Norelius came up with a community response that inspired hope and changed the life of the community. Today, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota holds these values at the core of its vision and mission. Their work is grounded in two principles – God loves all people without condition and God yearns for us to love the neighbor. At LSSMN, 2,300 staff serve 1 in 65 people in Minnesota. They serve in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties and in more than 300 communities. With an annual budget of $98 million funded from public, private and charitable sources, LSSMN is one of the state’s largest, nonprofit social service organizations. Their service outcome goals are organized around children, youth and families; people with disabilities; and older adults. They shape their planning and action.
To learn more, please visit:

North Dakota State University (NDSU): North Dakota State University is distinctive as a student-focused, land-grant, Research University that provides affordable access to an excellent education at a top-ranked institution that combines teaching and research in a rich learning environment, educating future leaders who will create solutions to national and global challenges that will shape a better world. NDSU is listed in the National Science Foundation’s top 100 in several areas, including agricultural sciences, social sciences, physical sciences, chemistry, psychology and computer sciences. NDSU is fully accredited as an institution by the Higher Learning Commission. NDSU’s Main campus is in Fargo, N.D., with Extension Service and Research Experiment Station locations all across the state. To learn more, please visit:

Media Contact:
Liliana Pettenkofer

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