Lutheran World Relief, Inc.

aka Lutheran World Relief   |   Baltimore, MD   |


Affirming God's love for all people, we work with Lutherans and partners around the world to end poverty, injustice and human suffering.

Ruling year info


President and CEO

Daniel Speckhard

Main address

700 Light Street

Baltimore, MD 21230 USA

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NTEE code info

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

International Agricultural Development (Q31)

International Economic Development (Q32)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

East Africa

In East Africa, Lutheran World Relief helps poor farming families get more out of the agricultural value chain. From growing coffee and cocoa to strawberries and beans, farmers and cooperatives are bolstering their incomes by learning better methods for planting, irrigating, harvesting, processing, and marketing their crops.

We also prepare young farmers for future careers in agriculture and related businesses and make the most of smartphone technology so that farmers are equipped with the most up-to-date information about weather forecasts, market data, composting and crop disease identification and treatment, and more.

Population(s) Served

In West Africa, Lutheran World Relief helps families become more resilient even in the most challenging conditions. The countries of the Sahel region of West Africa are among the poorest and least developed in the world. Cycles of drought and food shortage have driven millions to the brink of famine.

Lutheran World Relief helps farming families in West Africa increase the quality and yield of their crops and livestock, access sources of credit, and sell their produce in bigger and more profitable markets.

We also introduce lucrative crops such as onions, wheat and sesame. And across the region, we help families become better equipped to cope with severe drought through water and soil conservation.

Population(s) Served

Communities across Asia are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and natural disasters.

We find solutions specific to the needs of each community so families can lift themselves out of poverty and better prepare for the next unexpected challenge.

Lutheran World Relief works alongside communities to help farming families replace decades-old farming methods with climate-smart sustainable solutions, so they can improve crop yields and grow more and nutritious foods.

And in the aftermath of a disaster, Lutheran World Relief provides immediate aid — like clean water, shelter and household essentials — and supports communities for long-term recovery by helping them develop disaster risk management plans and rebuild stronger.

Population(s) Served

Lutheran World Relief reaches families in the Middle East who have been affected by war and conflict. These families have suffered tremendous loss and trauma, and many have been forced to flee their homes and are living as refugees in neighboring countries.

We provide the critical aid and support families need to put their lives back together.

We provide families with safe spaces so they can begin to heal gaping emotional wounds, offer skills training and opportunities to earn income.

Population(s) Served

The countries of Latin America are as diverse as they are rich in natural resources. Lutheran World Relief invests in projects that protect the land and the families whose livelihoods depend on it.

We introduce environmentally sustainable farming practices so communities can get the most out of their land and we find ways to capture and protect water, even in the most challenging environments.

In this region of the world where coffee and cocoa can be a stable source of income for families, we partner with small-plot farmers and their cooperatives to help them improve production and quality and gain greater bargaining power with buyers. And we develop cutting-edge tools, like smartphone apps, so farmers get the information they need to grow and sell their crops.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Wittenburg Award 2002

The Luther Institute

DeRose-Hinkhouse Award 2009

Religion Communicators Council

Top Citizen Diplomacy Award 2010

U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy

Mildred Robbins Leet Award for the Advancement of Women 1998


InterAction Member Self-Certification 2021


Affiliations & memberships

Food Resource Bank - Implementing Member 2013

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number and size of active projects

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

in 2022 52 projects (less than $1million), 18 projects ($1-5 million), 12 ($5+ million). in 2021 79 projects (less than $1million), 24 projects ($1-5 million), 10 ($5+ million).

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Lutheran World Relief's mission is to work with Lutherans and partners around the world to end poverty, injustice and human suffering.We accomplish this by working in rural communities in Africa, Latin America and Asia and the Middle East to:* Develop strong local economies that allow families to increase their incomes and assets* Build resilient communities, helping people to increase their ability to influence, respond and adapt to changes in their environments, and recover from conflict and disaster more quickly.* Mobilize millions of Lutherans to put their faith into action using LWR's sustainable development, responding to God's call to love and serve the neighbor in need.

Lutheran World Relief approaches the goals outlined above through clearly defined strategies for four objective areas: Agriculture; Emergency Operations; Climate; and Constituent Engagement. Each objective area includes 3-4 core program approaches. For example, LWR's agricultural approach includes working with agricultural value chains, food security programming, capacity development for local partners, rural financing, and climate-smart agriculture. Emergency operations core programs include cash transfer; distribution of non-food items; early recovery and livelihoods programming; and quality and accountability capacity.

LWR was established in 1945 as a way for Lutherans in the United States to provide support to people in Europe who lost their homes and livelihoods during World War II. Since that time, LWR has greatly expanded our efforts, responding to needs around the globe. Here's what uniquely qualifies us to do the work that we do:Our Reach and Staff* LWR currently has offices in fifteen countries (six in Africa, five in Asia and four in Latin America) as well as in five U.S. states (Maryland, Minnesota, Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania).* A staff of 152 individuals, each of whom is dedicated to ending poverty, injustice and human suffering and committed to LWR's values of gratitude, accompaniment, calling, stewardship and innovation.* LWR's international staff collectively includes both sector experts relevant to our relief and development work (emergency response, agriculture, malaria, etc.) as well as community development specialists who ensure projects and initiatives consider the whole picture and the many factors that contribute to the sustainability of a project.* LWR's international staff are primarily from the communities where they work and have a close familiarity with the local people, culture, language and context* LWR's US-based team includes communicators, educators, theologians and connectors able to mobilize, educate and engage individuals and congregations in putting their faith into action through this important work. Our Partnerships:* LWR has a financially strong, diverse and consistent funding base, comprising donations from Lutheran individuals, congregations and church bodies as well as government and foundation grants.* We are proud to name among our partners the United Nations Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Osprey Foundation.* We also enjoy a relationship with the two major Lutheran church bodies in the U.S.: The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod and The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.Our Stewardship* With core values of stewardship and innovation, we are always seeking to make the best use of our resources, learn from our successes and challenges and remain open to change for the better* LWR has made ongoing investments in our capacity and systems to support our operations, financial management, knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation, and safety and compliance, to achieve our goals.

LWR has significant evidence of progress-to-date toward accomplishing our goals and objectives. Following are illustrative examples of those accomplishments* In LWR's fiscal year 2013 (October 2012 - September 2013), we reached 7.8 million people in 35 countries through 185 projects. We responded to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, while also providing continued recovery assistance in Haiti and varied locations in South and Southeast Asia from previous disasters* In 2013, through the generous support of Lutherans and others in the U.S., LWR provided Quilts, Personal Care Kits, School Kits, Baby Care Kits and Sewing Kits valued at $14.3 million to 841,000 people in 21 countries* We have developed a comprehensive Design, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework to ensure all projects are well-designed and equipped to measure for impact, and learn from the evaluations; we have also recently completed an external evaluation of our strategic plan to ensure it is strong and effective. Future goals include full implementation of the new tools that enable us to better report impact and outcome data not just at a project level, but for countries, regions, sectors, and globally.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Lutheran World Relief, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Lutheran World Relief, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 08/30/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jean Hanson

Retired partner of the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, New York

William J Craft

Concordia College

Timothy Runtsch

Redeemer Lutheran Church

David Lose

Lutheran Theological Seminary

Philip Atkins-Pattenson

Sheppard Mullin, LLP

Kathi Tunheim

Gustavus Adolphus College

Abagail Nelson

Episcopal Relief & Development

Hilda M. (Bambi) Arellano

Retired from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Muna Bhanji

Former senior executive with Merck

Sonya Funna Evelyn

ADRA International

Marcelino Ford-Livene

Intel Capital

Kenneth Jones II

MacArthur Foundation

Tamron Keith

Presbyterian World Mission

Dr. Kurt Newman

Children's National Hospital.

Dr. Cathy A. Petti


Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/11/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data