Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Lutheran Charities?

Lutheran Charities, is a support network comprised of five Lutheran Social Ministry Organizations (SMOs) located in Southeastern PA, and collaboratively working together to serve an estimated 100,000 vulnerable children, families and seniors each year (one in 50 people regionally). Most of these non-profit SMOs have from 1,000 to 2,500 employees combined with hundreds of volunteers to provide a myriad of charitable programs.


Lutheran Charities created a legacy for Lutheran giving when it was founded in 1974 to ensure that Lutheran Social Ministry would continue to serve people in need for decades to come, thanks to the generosity of Lutherans and other people of faith.

Who are the five SMOs that make up Lutheran Charities?

Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries, headquartered in Allentown, PA, traces its roots back to 1868. They operate 12 senior living and housing communities and a range of services for children, youths, families and older adults in Pennsylvania and Maryland, serving an estimated 63,000 people annually. Areas of specialization include:

  • Senior Living Communities
  • Adoption and Foster care
  • Youth Services
  • Home and Community Based Senior Services

KenCrest, with headquarters in Blue Bell, PA, was founded in 1905 and serves over 11,000 people annually from newborns to senior adults with intellectual disabilities and autism with a staff of 2,000 in over 400 communities in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut.  Community-based program areas of specialization include:

  • Autism services
  • Preschool services
  • In-home Services
  • Head Start
  • Community Living
  • Lifesharing
  • Employment Training

Liberty Lutheran, with headquarters in Blue Bell, PA, was established in 2001 and provides diverse and vital resources for individuals and families facing life-changing situations.  The Liberty Family of Services includes: Artman, Liberty at Home, Lutheran Congregational Services, The Hearth at Drexel (formerly Mary J. Drexel), Paul’s Run Retirement Community and The Village at Penn State. In the past year the Liberty team served more than 50,000 individuals. Specialties are retirement communities and social services including:

  • Senior Living
  • Senior Community Centers
  • In-home Senior Services
  • Rehabilitation Services
  • Disaster Preparation and Response
  • Congregational Partnerships

Lutheran Settlement House, based in lower Kensington, Philadelphia and founded in 1902, they serve over 18,000 children, adults and families annually through integrated social, educational and advocacy services including:

  • Bilingual Domestic Violence Program and Emergency Hotline
  • Jane Addams Place (domestic violence shelter for up to 29 mothers and 70 children at a time).
  • Community Education & Employment Department
  • Senior Center
  • Caregiver Support
  • Medical Advocacy
  • Homeless Services
  • Health and Nutrition Services

Silver Springs – Martin Luther School, is located in Plymouth Meeting and in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia, was founded in 1859, and provides a range of specialized services and support for children from K – 8th grade who struggle with emotional and behavioral challenges.  Through special education, foster family care and residential and community-based mental health services, Silver Springs offers opportunities for children and families to learn, to heal and to reach for brighter tomorrows. Specialized programs offered include:

  • Residential Treatment Program
  • Martin Luther School

AND Community-Based Programs 

  • Outpatient Mental Health Services
  • Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services
  • Therapeutic Foster Family Care

Who does Lutheran Charities serve?

Lutheran Charities, touches the lives of approximately 100,000 children, families and senior adults or 1 in 50 people regionally from birth through life’s final moments. The network has been in operation for more than 40 years. The organization’s charitable programs serve the most vulnerable people in our neighborhood communities with challenges ranging from intellectual disabilities and autism to homelessness and domestic violence to providing a certified private school for emotionally fragile children, a safe haven for troubled adolescents and finally, communities with a continuum of care for senior adults. Lutheran Charities is making a difference in the lives of people of all ages every day, one person at a time!

Where does Lutheran Charities provide the majority of its services?

Lutheran Charities offers the majority of its services regionally or in the five counties that make up Southeastern Pennsylvania (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties) and throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Services are also being provided by several of the organizations, i.e., KenCrest and Diakon in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland.

What is Lutheran Charities’ relationship to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Lutheran Charities was founded in 1974 and originally operated in affiliation with the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) before their affiliation with the Evangelical Church in America (ELCA) in 1988. In 2014, Lutheran Charities was reconstituted from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA, and now operates as a separate 501(c)3 non-profit organization working in tandem with the nearly 160 congregations in this regional synod, combined with other church and non-denominational connections. 

Where is Lutheran Charities located?

Lutheran Charities has its offices in the Liberty Lutheran building at 7002 W. Butler Pike, Ambler, PA, Montgomery County.

What is Lutheran Charities’ Mission Statement?

Lutheran Charities exists to empower vulnerable children and families to overcome difficulties and achieve success through quality educational and treatment services. The five Social Ministry Organizations of Lutheran Charities offer specialized and custom support, encouragement and love to children and families in need, without regard to religion, race, disability, age, gender or sexual orientation, through the generous giving of those who love God and neighbor.

What are Lutheran Charities’ guiding principles?

  • Serve our neighbors in need and work together collaboratively as donors and charities to do more
  • Observe Reformer Martin Luther’s vision for loving the neighbor and serving the common good by providing essential community-based social ministry programs and services
  • Support vulnerable children, youth and adults with a wide variety of needs and challenges without regard for race or creed
  • Work to extend the Charities’ reach to serve even more than the 100,000 lives currently assisted through funds raised to offer additional help
  • Offer invaluable resources with access to a national network of 300 certified Lutheran Social Ministry Organizations, one of the largest networks of its kind 

Where does the money that Lutheran Charities raises annually come from?

The majority of the funds raised by Lutheran Charities, nearly 85 percent, comes from within the state of Pennsylvania with the bulk of these monies contributed by individual donors and congregations, followed by a growing number of corporate and organization matching gifts.

What is the organization doing to raise funds for Lutheran Charities Appeal Month in October?

Lutheran Charities Month was officially affirmed by resolution in May 2016 at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA, Assembly. The resolution called for an annual fundraising appeal in October to be observed and supported by individual donors, congregations, corporations and organizations.


Exciting plans for this inaugural and official fundraising appeal will rally around the theme of:

“Together as donors and charities…empowered to do more in our communities!”

What is Lutheran Charities’ overall fundraising goal for this year?

Exciting plans are in development to observe and celebrate Lutheran Charities Appeal Month in October as well as the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation to embrace new donor and congregational relationships that will positively impact Lutheran Charities’ fundraising goals and objectives. More information forthcoming.

How can I give to Lutheran Charities?

It’s simple…

  1. Give online: at and click on DONATE
  2. Call us with questions at 855-323-HOPE

How will the funds raised be used?

The priority commitment for the funds raised in fiscal year 2016-2017 will be earmarked to help vulnerable children and families in our neighborhood communities in Southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond.

What specific opportunities has Lutheran Charities identified to meet the needs of vulnerable children, families and senior adults in our neighborhood communities, just to name a few?

  • Provide disaster response to people and families in need through Lutheran Disaster Response
  • Offer suitcases and clothes to children entering foster care
  • Develop school visiting programs for our senior communities
  • Serve people with special needs by offering great community-based KenCrest Centers
  • Reduce homelessness by supporting the Jane Addams House in Philadelphia
  • Reduce the number of domestic violence incidents in our local communities though the continued excellent programs being offered by Lutheran Settlement House
  • Provide benevolent care for senior adults in senior living communities

What are some of Lutheran Charities’ major accomplishments over the past four decades?

  • Raising awareness within our communities for those in need of support, care and education
  • Holding special events, like past Bikeathons to bring our local communities together
  • Sharing the work of Lutheran Charities with nearly 160 churches in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA
  • Distributing funds to support the charities as they reach out in service
  • Embracing and encouraging the legacy of giving among Lutherans and other people of faith

How can I volunteer at Lutheran Charities?

We invite you to be a part of the conversation!  Join the growing and developing movement of people coming together to do God’s work right here in SEPA and beyond.  Join the on-going conversation on our new website, like us on social media; volunteer for our next event; or check out our “Contact Us” webpage and indicate how and where you would like to get involved in the comment section of this form.  We need YOU-your energy, your enthusiasm and most especially your support to be part of Lutheran Charities where,

“Together as donors and charities…empowered to do more in our communities!”

How can we learn more about Lutheran Charities?


Social media: Visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn

Phone: 855-323-HOPE