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2017 Putting Compassion in Action Staff Campaign


A home for Civil War orphans

LSI’s story starts with children who needed a home.

1864 German Lutherans opened a home for orphans of the Civil War in Andrew, Iowa. The home later relocated to Waverly and became the Bremwood Lutheran Children’s Home.
1870 Swedish Lutherans set aside 160 acres for a children’s home in Stanton, Iowa, and planted the roots of what would later become Lutheran Social Service of Iowa (LSS).
1890 Norwegian Lutherans open the Beloit Lutheran Children’s Home in Beloit, Iowa, which was later relocated to Ames.

A legacy of hope

1939 Lutheran Welfare Society is incorporated.
1944 Beloit begins new focus of serving children with mental health needs.
1947 Refugee program begins with the arrival of 10 children and one adult from Eastern Europe.
1955 Bremwood becomes the first accredited psychiatric residential treatment center for Iowa youth.
1963 Lutheran Welfare Society of Iowa changes its name to Lutheran Social Service of Iowa (LSS).
1960s Civil Rights era projects are launched, such as the Black Mobile Street Worker project, economic development and counselor training for Native American tribes.
1970s LSS begins resettling Southeast Asian refugees to Iowa.
1970s In-home services begin, where trained staff literally “move in” with a family in crisis to keep a family intact.
1982 Beloit merges with LSS.
1990s Home health care program grows, helping more elderly Iowans stay in their homes.
1990s Programs for people with disabilities are expanded, tripling the number of clients.
2003 LSS integrates with Bremwood, forming Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) and creating one of Iowa’s largest human service agencies.
2006 LSI established as a partner agency in Iowa KidsNet, a statewide collaboration that finds all of Iowa’s foster and adoptive homes.
2008 LSI, the Iowa affiliate of Lutheran Disaster Response, raises over $1 million to provide case management services for Iowans affected by the historic 2008 floods.
2010 LSI closes its historic refugee resettlement program, allowing it to reopen later in the year with a new focus on providing extended support services to refugees already living in Des Moines. This shift paves the way for new programs such as child care business development, elderly services, work readiness classes, English as a Second Language classes and agriculture programs.
2014 LSI marks 150 years of service.

Over 150 years of service

LSI began as a safe place for children. Today LSI is one of Iowa’s largest human services agencies, supporting thousands of people each year.

Today we are still committed to making sure children have safe, permanent homes. We also support families, people with disabilities, people of refugee status, elderly adults and many others.

For over 150 years, LSI has stood beside Iowa’s most vulnerable. We invite you to join us in continuing this mission of service for many years to come.

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2017 Putting Compassion in Action Staff Campaign