Samuel Sipes of Lutheran Services Florida Elected Chair of the LSA Board of Directors

Julie Swanson, Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, joins Board to fill vacant seat
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sam Sipes

Samuel M. Sipes, LCSW, BCD, has been elected as Chairperson of the Board for Lutheran Services in America, effective October 15, 2014. Sipes is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Services Florida. His term as Board chair runs through June 30, 2015. Sipes joined the LSA Board in 2009, and fills the Chair position left vacant in September 2014 due to the retirement of John Bauer, formerly of Bethesda Lutheran Communities.

Julie Swanson, President and Chief Executive of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, has been elected to join the LSA Board of Directors to complete the remainder of Bauer's term, which expires in June 2016.

About Sam Sipes and Lutheran Services Florida

Sipes joined Lutheran Services Florida (LSF) in September 2007. As President and CEO, he manages 1,300 employees who oversee more than 60 programs with an annual budget of more than $200 million. Sipes has a background in leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, as well as experience in child welfare, social services and programs for senior citizens.

Prior to joining LSF, Sipes served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSSS) in Austin, Texas, also a member of LSA. LSSS became the largest provider of children's residential services in Texas with an annual operating budget of more than $100 million. LSSS's foster care program grew from serving 13 children to nearly 3,000 children during his tenure. Sipes also was instrumental in expanding residential and non-residential services to senior citizens as well as leading disaster response efforts across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Lutheran Services Florida (LSF) is a statewide, non-profit, human services agency dedicated to helping all people in need regardless of religious affiliation, age or national origin. Headquartered in Tampa, the agency has more than 60 programs located throughout Florida. Since LSF was established in 1982, nearly 900,000 children and families have received assistance from vital LSF services including: the Child Care Food Program, Head Start and Early Head Start, Foster Care and Adoptions Case Management, Youth Shelters and Family Crisis Counseling Programs, Guardianship Program, Housing, Employment, Refugee and Immigration Programs, Ryan White AIDS Program, and Disaster Response Programs for victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. For more information, visit

About Julie Swanson and Lutheran Family Services of Virginia

Julie SwansonJulie E. Swanson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia (LFSVA), a member of LSA. Swanson joined LFSVA in July 2005. As President and CEO, she manages 400 employees in 15 locations across the state with a total annual budget of $29 million.

Swanson has worked with Lutheran agencies in the Virgin Islands, Florida and Colorado and has a background in both management and fund development.  Throughout her career, Swanson has been involved with programs serving children, families, refugees and the elderly. She served as a national Lutheran Disaster Response consultant after experiencing and then coordinating the response and rebuilding efforts for Hurricane Hugo and Hurricane Marilyn in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Under Swanson's leadership, LFSVA acquired a company, thus allowing it to expand its' mission to serve adults with disabilities. In nine years the organization has tripled in size.  LFSVA's vision is to be a leading provider of services by helping children in foster care find permanent homes, strengthening families through therapeutic services, educating children with complex needs, and helping older adults and adults with disabilities live the most abundant lives possible.

Swanson is also the Convener for the LSA Disability Network (LSA-DN) and is a member of the LSA Public Policy Advisory Council. She is a board member for the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and has been involved in organizing Virginia nonprofits as a coalition.

Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, which is headquartered in Roanoke, offers adoption and foster care, community-based services, educational services and services for older adults and adults with disabilities in locations throughout the state. For more information, visit

Please join us in congratulating Sam and Julie on their appointments to the Board, and thanking them for their service to the LSA network and Lutheran social ministry.