History of Founding and Growth

Since 1970, Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest has responded to Arizona’s changing needs by compassionately offering quality services and resources that contribute to a stronger and healthier Arizona for all people.

Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest traces its history to the 1960s when Lutheran congregations gathered to consider a coordinated response to meet the needs of their most vulnerable neighbors in ways that changed lives. As an expression of God’s love for all, these Phoenix based churches began addressing the immediate basic needs for low income families, in 1970. Click here to view an interactive timeline of our history. 

Currently, almost 100 faith-based groups representing over 12 faith traditions, along with individuals and community organizations, partner with Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest to offer services that inspire hope and preserve the dignity of those we serve.

Today, a staff of almost 500 work in 10 Arizona counties and serve 1 out of 90 Arizonans. The annual budget of $15 million is funded from public, private and charitable sources. Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest partners with other nonprofit organizations and government agencies to ensure that our cumulative efforts are maximized.

Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest is a pan-Lutheran organization, and is the social service arm of the wider Lutheran Church, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. While our roots are deeply Lutheran, services and employment opportunities are open to all, regardless of religious affiliation or background.