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Journey to The New LSS: Part Four – Faith In Every Future | Upbring

Journey to The New LSS 1

Journey to The New LSS

The New LSS – Faith in Every Future

Helping children, families and communities address the issue of child abuse has been at the heart of Lutheran Social Services’ mission – Help, Healing and Hope – and our goals. Our track record of providing loving, compassionate care for children at their time of greatest peril, guided by faith, is clear.

Over the last year, senior management and the LSS board have asked, “What more can – and should – we do?”

An examination of the magnitude of the problem, the social, economic and political environments in which we operate, and the strengths and weaknesses of our organization has led to a recognition that LSS must become more focused and strategic, and our programs need to work together as an integrated system, not a collection of independent operating units.

The driving force behind these changes is simply our new vision and mission:

Journey to The New LSS - Mission & Vision

We will accomplish this through a continuum of services and community partnerships, each tracking progress against markers of safety, life skills, education, health, and vocation, all of which are critical to breaking the cycle of child abuse. We recognize that children enter the system at different stages of their lives and due to varying life events. Because the types of abuse vary among children, we are committed to addressing the entire spectrum.

Journey to The New LSS - Dr. Kurt Senske

We have an opportunity to redefine who we are, how we live our new mission, and how we deliver our programs and services. By addressing our mission, our people, our programs and services, and most importantly the children of Texas and Louisiana, we can become a premier nonprofit leader in the fight to empower children, families and communities to break the cycle of child abuse.

Accomplishing our new, bold mission will require change. We must:


through the best programs and services in Texas, and increasing our total served to more than 10,000 children every year. The priority for LSS is to continue to provide the best programs and services to the children of Texas and Louisiana. The services are and will remain at the core of what we do. Having the boots on the ground will provide LSS the credibility it needs to advance the other sectors of the organization.


to become the premier thought leaders in Texas, the “to go” organization on children services in Texas, and developing new programs and services to increase total served by asking, “Do children have everything they need to break the cycle of child abuse?” Over the next four years, LSS will position itself as a statewide leader in the effort to break the cycle of child abuse by taking advantage of the credibility that comes with excellence in service delivery to advance the best thinking on how we empower children, families and communities to break this cycle. LSS will further these efforts through partnerships with universities, existing thought leaders, as well as key business, government, and community leaders.

The combination of excellence in service delivery and thought leadership creates the opportunity to be an effective advocate for the betterment of the children, families and communities we serve, thereby making child well-being and protection a much higher priority for Texas than is the case today.

Fulfilling this new mission and vision and achieve the ambitious goals in our new strategic plan will mean many changes for the organization.


by recruiting and developing the best team. To strengthen our people, LSS is investing in new and innovative ways. We will engage staff by shifting our paradigm to one that affords our people with opportunities to enjoy exceptional professional and personal fulfillment in coming to work and delivering the new mission.

We will address the key issues identified in the most recent employee engagement survey: pay, diversity, internal communication, climate/fairness, and climate/management, with a goal of lowering attrition rates to 15 percent agency-wide by 2017. We are developing a growth plan for high-potential employees and creating a plan to successfully transition underperforming employees into solid agency assets.


to ensure that LSS remains financially strong for another 100 years. To achieve our financial goals going forward, we are working with the operating units of the organization to align our efforts around the four-year strategic plan that includes performance, capital expenditures, investment strategies and the financial core. We will work contTinuously to help each operating unit achieve sustainable operating margins. Reducing or eliminating our debt will also allow us to establish reserves aimed at funding potential cyclical deficits in future operations and launch new initiatives that may require some up-front investment.

With a new mission and vision comes a new business model for the organization that will create a more anticipatory form of leadership and allow us be more nimble. We will also introduce a new comprehensive identity strategy that will honor our Lutheran heritage, help unify our services and open the door to others passionate about our cause.

Journey to The New LSS - New Business Model

In addition to our programmatic goals, LSS is committed to providing quality, innovative, faith-based services for the children we serve at levels above and beyond the minimum guidelines, enhancing their lives. We further commit to taking on work critical to our mission even when there are not traditional funding streams available. These efforts are made possible through the generosity of countless individuals, organizations, churches, and corporations who share our passion and commitment for breaking the cycle of child abuse, and whose gifts make up approximately 10 percent of our annual revenue.

To accomplish this, we plan to:

  • Implement a comprehensive identity strategy that honors our Lutheran heritage and opens the door to others passionate about the cause.
  • Expand opportunities for donors to make an impact on the lives of children with their gifts each year, increasing annual fund support by $1 million per year for the next four years, while maintaining our commitment to minimizing the costs associated with fundraising and insuring the highest industry standard of ethics.
  • Build, with the help of visionary individuals and management of current assets, a $100 million endowment to support our work in perpetuity.
  • Fund the capital expenditures necessary for accomplishing our mission.
  • Strengthen our focus in LSS Impact Areas, directly through our programs and indirectly through new key partnerships that impact the key markers and create safer communities for all children.


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