Lutheran World Relief


Lutheran World Relief, an international nonprofit organization, works to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the world's most impoverished communitites. With partners in 35 countries, LWR promotes sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communitites help themselves.

Lutheran World Relief does all of this exclusively through partner organizations in the communities we serve. Our partners help us remain incredible effective and efficient.

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), The Lutheran Church-- Missouri Synod (LCMS), individuals and parish groups in international relief, development, advocacy and social responsibility.

Contact information

Mailing address:
700 Light St
Baltimore , MD 21230-3850


Phone: (410) 230-2700


Organization details

EIN: 132574963

CEO/President: Mr. John Nunes

Mr. Richard A. Nelson

Board size: 14

Founder: U.S. Lutherans

Year founded: 1945

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 09/30

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:



We are grounded in profound thankfulness for God's gracious, self-giving love for all humankind, revealed in the redemptive acts of Jesus Christ. Gratitude marks the way we relate to one another and to all creation. Though our experiences vary, we view community as a gift. We give thanks for our wondrous diversity. We celebrate being alive. We abound with joy, hopefulness, hospitality, and deep appreciation for the gift of one another (Psalm 136).


All people are made in the image of God ( Imago Dei, Genesis 1:26, James 3:9) and are human beings of dignity and worth. Each life-course is laden with meaning and purpose as we live out our callings. Working together, our common vocation transforms communities even as it recognizes a unique space for inter-Lutheran and ecumenical relations. As we are attentive to the alignment of our individual, interpersonal, and common vocations, we will flourish.


God has modeled for us the decisive act of accompaniment in the life of Jesus. By walking along the road and breaking bread with his companions (Luke 24), Jesus met others eye to eye, accessing new horizons for them to construct their future. Similarly, we endeavor to walk and work with partners. As we engage in critical and self-critical reflection and develop cultural competency, we support, encourage, and learn together within long-term relationships of trust and reciprocity.


Both our respect and appreciation for each other and the critical and urgent nature of our mission call us to employ the highest standards in our lives and work. We are not owners; rather we strive to be wise trustees: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it" (Psalm 24:1). Aware of an imbalance and abuse of resources globally, we are compelled toward responsibility, justice, and bold investment for the sake of our mission.


As long as our vision remains unachieved, we are restless. We seek relentlessly to learn, adapt, and grow. Our goals are so compelling and human suffering so pervasive that we are unsatisfied with the status quo. With entrepreneurial eyes, we are careful to make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16). With creativity, we build new partnerships that strengthen capacities. With imagination, we embrace leading-edge ideas that enhance the quality of our ministry.

Mission statement

Luthern World Relief express its mission as follows:

Faith is Active in Love God's love for humankind knows no boundaries, is gracious and self-giving. As God is compassionate, so God's people are called to be compassionate. Thus we believe there is no greater way of serving God than in Christian love which serves neighbors in need.

God Gives All People Dignity All people are created in the image of God. Every child, woman and man receives dignity from God. This glorious equality inspires our work.

We Serve With Partners God gives all people the capacity to work for the common good. We seek humility, openness and mutual respect in partnerships with communities and organizations, at home and abroad, in the Church and beyond. These relationships transform us.

We Make Good Use of God's Gifts We are faithful stewards of the talents, financial gifts and material resources entrusted to this ministry and, therefore, accountable and effective in their use. Our responsibility as stewards extends to the earth and its resources.

We Work for Justice and Peace God's will is justice, reconciliation and peace for all people. We advocate with those in need, speaking truth to those in power. We work with poor and powerless communities to challenge not only the consequences of poverty and oppression but also the causes.

Statement of faith

Lutheran World Relief does not have a stated formal statement of faith, but refer to their values found here in the "Purpose" section. They appreciate the contribution of Lutheran theology upon their understanding of faith and cherish their Lutheran heritage and identity.

Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Relief and Development

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating497 of 66448 of 68
Fund acquisition rating361 of 66636 of 68
Resource allocation rating483 of 66652 of 68
Asset utilization rating436 of 66442 of 68

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$6,803,708$15,055,129$8,086,931$8,833,545$6,775,419
Short-term investments$21,073,772$26,347,558$34,769,747$24,612,829$25,347,262
Other current assets$1,558,253$643,563$630,482$507,595$586,312
Total current assets$32,463,909$43,432,613$45,271,876$34,980,599$34,024,252
Long-term investments$3,559,345$3,598,281$3,679,220$3,848,127$3,897,758
Fixed assets$306,351$404,239$484,547$894,818$866,060
Other long-term assets$3,907,367$2,507,881$2,395,652$2,310,783$2,321,748
Total long-term assets$7,773,063$6,510,401$6,559,419$7,053,728$7,085,566
Total assets$40,236,972$49,943,014$51,831,295$42,034,327$41,109,818
Payables and accrued expenses$3,474,688$4,289,850$4,962,440$3,975,002$3,660,839
Other current liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total current liabilities$3,474,688$4,289,850$4,962,440$3,975,002$3,660,839
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$4,645,661$3,004,817$6,318,381$1,696,532$2,199,909
Total long-term liabilities$6,324,686$11,174,631$8,238,315$3,726,919$4,406,291
Total liabilities$9,799,374$15,464,481$13,200,755$7,701,921$8,067,130
Net assets20192018201720162015
Temporarily restricted$6,986,817$6,866,661$8,100,701$7,869,510$8,746,717
Permanently restricted$0$272,739$263,738$250,738$250,738
Net assets$30,437,598$34,478,533$38,630,540$34,332,406$33,042,688
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$48,189,390$48,377,770$52,949,012$46,578,752$43,334,232
Program service revenue$0$0$543,531$671,570$3,036,979
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$0$0$0$0$0
Other revenue$0$50,654$69,496$112,492$101,725
Total other revenue$0$50,654$613,027$784,062$3,138,704
Total revenue$48,189,390$48,428,424$53,562,039$47,362,814$46,472,936
Program services$42,611,540$45,604,130$43,903,137$40,943,034$43,262,566
Management and general$7,236,014$5,983,396$3,698,272$3,201,945$3,318,431
Total expenses$53,371,264$54,826,151$51,913,210$48,231,933$50,457,646
Change in net assets20192018201720162015
Surplus (deficit)($5,181,874)($6,397,727)$1,648,829($869,119)($3,984,710)
Other changes in net assets$1,140,939$2,245,720$2,649,305$2,158,837($459,269)
Total change in net assets($4,040,935)($4,152,007)$4,298,134$1,289,718($4,443,979)

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.


More than half a century ago, World War II left an estimated one-fifth of the world's Lutherans homeless. Here in the United States, Lutheran churches in at least 20 states mobilized to help in Europe through a new agency called Lutheran World Relief. Aid recipients have changed along with much else, but in thousands of parishes, in millions of offerings and in uncounted prayers, US Lutherans have supported LWR's work ever since. Initially prompted by sending aid to their German and Scandinavian kin, American Lutherans soon realized that aid could be shared fairly only on the basis of need. Hungry refugees all over Europe cried out for help. Service to all suffering people became a vital part of Christian witness. Local partners were responsible for using the shipments wisely. LWR's work took shape.

A growing expertise, the will to help, and ties to overseas missions soon called LWR farther afield. In the late 1940s, 800,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes by the creation of the state of Israel. From the early 1950s in Hong Kong, Korea and Bangladesh, Asia was a continent of considerable strife. During the 1970s and '80s, civil wars and drought made Africa the new concern.

Around the world, LWR shares far more than relief supplies. With 100 local partners, LWR works to improve harvests, health and education in some 50 countries each year. LWR partners train local women and men to produce local foods, dig low-cost wells and protect and restore their local environments. Some partners are small village groups on the edge of the Sahara. Others are nationwide programs that may reach across the Andes.

In 50 years, LWR has learned much about walking with people who set out to better their lives and communities. It has learned that the future in health, agriculture and education often lies with the hearts and hands of women. It has learned that disaster can sometimes be prevented or withstood by effective development programs and that, when disasters do occur, LWR partners may be on the spot well before the world notices and still needed long after the crisis no longer commands front-page headlines.

In a survey on the eve of LWR's 50th anniversary, a sample of U.S. Lutherans told LWR that they saw the agency as a reliable and efficient way to put their Christian faith into action. They said they trust LWR overseas to express their Christian love for neighbors and that its way of working through those neighbors instills confidence in the organization.

Throughout its history, LWR has worked on behalf of U.S. Lutherans. Basic support today is provided through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America World Hunger Appeal and by The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod World Relief.

Program accomplishments

Lutheran World Relief program accomplishments are:

Latin America program supports efforts in six countries:El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia.

  • Small farmers' access to land and local, regional and international markets
  • Agro-ecological production methods
  • Disaster prevention
  • Collaboration with municipal governments
  • Promotion of peace and conflict resolution
In Asia and the Middle East, LWR supports partners and long-term programs in West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, India, Nepal, and the Philippines.

  • Rights based work: (social, economic, cultural and political, embracing justice, inequality and discrimination)
  • Food and water security (incorporating land/water access, trade and environmental issues)
  • Conflict management and resolution (including peace building and reconciliation, reducing violence and trauma counseling)
  • Vulnerability reduction of marginalized affected by emergencies and are living in the Crisis Zones
LWR continues to respond to natural and human-caused disasters throughout Africa.

  • HIV/AIDS prevention (which includes behavior-change communication) and strengthening community capacity to support people living with HIV/AIDS and those affected by it
  • Food security from both farm-based and off-farm activities
  • Empowerment of communities and social equity for all, particularly women


LWR express the ministry's needs as follows:

  • Quilts
  • Layettes: used as gifts for newborns and their mothers.
  • Health Kits
  • School Kits
  • Sewing kits
  • Donations