Our Commitment to Equity and Justice

Our commitment to race equity and justice

Lutheran social ministry organizations empower people in America to lead their best lives—so all communities can thrive. Recognizing the hope everyone holds for their future regardless of race, age or ZIP code, Lutheran Services in America addresses the inequities experienced by children of color in need, older adults with limited care options and others experiencing the least attention and the greatest risk.

We work together with our member organizations and partners to change policies and practices to enable millions of individuals to reach their full potential. Beyond that, we strive to bring about transformational change to empower all people in the United States.

A crucial piece of this ongoing work is tackling systemic racism.

Our Commitment

As a faith-based organization, one committed to equity and justice, our team recognizes and acts upon the need to eliminate systemic racism in the United States. In so doing, we will continue to help reverse the very real toll systemic racism’s related effects have on the health and well-being of people of color and their communities.

Existing disparities across so many sectors of our society emphasize how systemic racism directly affects the foundations of wellness for communities of color. We and the 300 health and human services organizations that comprise our national network see evidence of this every day in our related work with children, older adults, families, people with disabilities, veterans, refugees and others experiencing need in the United States.

Systemic racism must have no home or acceptance. It translates into nothing short of a public health crisis, one which we are committed to helping correct.

Our Actions

One such example is through our ongoing Results Innovation Lab, which already has reached over 17,000 youth and their families. Importantly, this initiative disaggregates data by race to capture a clearer understanding of where inequities lie and how to address those inequities.

Building on our existing efforts in working with people and families of color so they can thrive, we are invested in two major initiatives:

  • The  Results Network where we work with 13 of our member organizations to address what it will take to stabilize their families in their communities, so families can remain intact and children do not need to be removed from their family; and
  • The Family Stabilization Initiative to find better ways to strengthen families and prevent children from entering into child welfare systems, addressing the disproportionate number of children of color separated from their families through out-of-home placements.

Further, we support several learning collaboratives focused on race equity and inclusion:

  • Our Race Equity Network, where our member organizations regularly meet to share learnings and best practices of their work to address systemic racism in their own systems and structures, and which also informs our national advocacy platform on critical related issues such as homelessness;
  • Our Mission Leaders Group, comprised of leaders from our member organizations who act as stewards of their organization’s faith-based mission, and who meet to form strategies on increasing diversity and discuss related topics tied to equity and inclusivity from an all faiths perspective; and
  • Our Reimagining Diversity Collaborative, which brings together CEOs and their board members in the Lutheran Services in America network to discuss ways to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in a safe and trusted learning environment. The Collaborative raises awareness and understanding of DEI and tools to support organizations in applying DEI within their organizations and in their services in the community.

Our ongoing Strength & Service Series webinars provide ongoing dialogues through which thought leaders and panelists share experiences tied to becoming anti-racist organizations.

In these webinars, participants from our national network discuss critical related topics such as engaging community partners to dismantle racism and addressing organizations’ role in systemic racism—all geared toward capturing a more thorough and actionable understanding of concrete steps needed to eliminate systemic racism.

These webinars are available to all members of our network at any time: