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Families in Society






Religious nonprofit social service and health organizations provide care to a large number of people in American communities. To enhance the services that these organizations provide, religious denominations have formed national nonprofit umbrella organizations. Little has been written about these umbrella organizations, their identity, and their functions. Using archival sources and interviews, this article explores the history and development of Lutheran Services in America (LSA), a large, Protestant, national nonprofit umbrella organization. Elements of this organization’s identity are examined—its ongoing efforts to affirm its religious values and goals, its efforts to meet economic needs, and its serving as a forum in which differing views of social services in the church can be discussed. The multiple identities of LSA are explored, and the implications for religious nonprofit umbrella organizations are discussed.


Author Posting (c) Alliance for Children and Families, 2008. This article is posted here by permission of Alliance for Children and Families for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Families in Society, Vol 89, Iss 2 (2008),

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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