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About Us

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Our Mission

Motivated and guided by the compassion of Christ, we serve and care for people in need.

Our Programs

Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida operates five very different community outreach programs that share an important commonality… the ability to help those facing hardships stabilize their lives and earn a fresh start.

Refugee Services

Our History

Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida was incorporated in 1979 by a consortium of Lutheran churches and Jacksonville community leaders. The first initiative operated by the nonprofit was the Nourishment Network – a small food pantry that has fed hundreds of thousands of food-insecure families for more than 40 years.

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Just one year after the launch of the Nourishment Network program, Lutheran Social Services began resettling refugees admitted to the United States due to dangerous political climates or natural disasters in their own countries. Four decades later, the Refugee Services program team still helps hundreds of refugees each year, from finding them places to live to assisting them with employment.

In 1992, the AIDS Care and Education program was established by Lutheran Social Services to provide case management, mental health services and education for people living with HIV and AIDS.

The Representative Payee Services program was implemented in 1995 after the Social Security Administration and the Florida Department of Children and Families approached Lutheran Social Services to help with the management of fiscal affairs for low-income people who need help managing their income appropriately to provide for their basic needs. This includes but is not limited to those receiving Social Security and disability benefits as well as VA and Railroad Retirement pensions.

In 2017, LSS partnered with LISC Jacksonville, United Way of Northeast Florida, Family Foundations and the New Town Success Zone to launch Steps 2 Success, Florida’s first Financial Opportunity Center. S2S provides integrated employment and financial coaching, along with emergency income supports, to help people attain their goals and realize their vision.

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Board of Directors

Board
Kim Bass (Treasurer)
| Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance, Client Service Executive
Amer Beharic
| Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside, Vice President of Operations
Dr. James Dennis (Secretary)
| University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, Professor of Surgery & Chief of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy
 
Kim Dodds
| Bank of America, Vice President 
Kym Hammer (Vice-Chair)
| Belk, Vice President of Planning
Chris Jackson
| JEA, Director of Customer Revenue
Jan Jirousek
| Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Retired
David Johnson (Chair)
| Beaches Car Wash, Owner & Ivy League Gifts, Partner
Wanda McClellan
| Walgreens, District Manager and Community Outreach
The Rev. Patrick McKenzie 
| Hope Lutheran Church, Pastor
Casey Steel 
| Steel Trial Law, Attorney
Jana Synatschk 
| TIAA Bank, Vice President
Cheryl Lynn Virta 
| Virta Law, Attorney
Tracy Williams 
| GuideWell Health, Senior Director
Image by Rémi Walle

Our Partners

Our Partners

Corporate Partners

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Government Partners

Federal, state and local grants also support the work of the agency by funding programs and services that benefit the community or the public at large.