Mission and History

Lutheran Community Services Northwest partners with individuals, families and communities for health, justice and hope.

Lutheran Welfare Center in Portland, circa 1940’s.

Watch a retrospective video from our Centennial year!

The origin of Lutheran Community Services Northwest predates the Great Depression to 1921 with the founding of the Lutheran Compass Mission in Tacoma. The mission served “down-and-out” individuals and families in the community. In 1926, caring Lutherans in Portland organized a similar outreach effort known as the Lutheran Welfare Society. As human suffering escalated during the 1930s, Northwest Lutherans increased their efforts to provide clothing, bedding, food and shelter to the homeless.

Serving Northwest communities for more than a century

Our work in refugee resettlement first began in the 1940’s, helping individuals and families fleeing war-torn Europe find hope and new opportunity in Northwest communities.

In the 1940s, we resettled refugees from Eastern Europe and started offering adoption services. Our Spokane office opened in 1956 and the Tri-Cities office opened in 1964 as our work focused on mental health and marriage and family counseling. In the 1970s and 80s, we expanded services for refugees and unaccompanied minors, senior services grew in Tacoma, and the Rape Crisis Center opened in Spokane.

In 2001, Lutheran Social Services of Washington and Idaho joined with Lutheran Family Service of Oregon and SW Washington to form Lutheran Community Services Northwest.

You are welcome here.
We offer services without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, religious belief, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, ability, military or veteran status, source of income or political affiliation.
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