Lutheran World Relief, a nonprofit agency which operates and funds development and relief efforts in 50 countries, said yesterday that it will shift its world headquarters to Baltimore from New York City.
While the move will result in just 25 jobs coming to the city, Baltimore officials said the decision has a larger, symbolic value because it involves yet another major relief agency having chosen Baltimore as its headquarters.
The agency, which had a 1996 budget of $19.3 million, hasn't selected a specific location for its headquarters, but fully expects to set up operations inside the city, said Jonathan Frerichs, a spokesman for Lutheran World Relief.
Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said, "We see this as a 'D growing trend to be able to attract headquarters of international organizations, whose impact will not only be felt throughout the country, but throughout the world."
Ann Coscia, executive director of the Greater Baltimore Alliance, an economic development group which contributed to the effort to lure Lutheran World Relief to Baltimore, said the decision should boost Baltimore's future efforts to attract nonprofits.
"It's a real complement for attracting more nonprofits," said Coscia. "We have a significant, growing, nonprofit sector in the city. They are finding our proximity to Washington and our labor and real estate costs very attractive."
Since 1989, three other major nongovernmental relief organizations have moved to Baltimore.
The first was Catholic Relief Services, one of the largest nongovernment providers of food and emergency assistance, which moved its world headquarters.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a well-endowed charity dedicated to disadvantaged children, moved to the city last year. And the International Youth Foundation Inc., dedicated to improving youth educational worldwide, followed suit last summer, relocating from Battle Creek, Mich.
Frerichs, the spokesman for Lutheran World Relief, said the organization expects to make the move to Baltimore between 1998 and 2000.
The nongovernmental organization is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod. Its projects range from assisting with disasters, such as floods, to sponsoring rural health-care clinics and agriculture programs.
Frerichs said Lutheran World Relief chose Baltimore over two other candidates for a new headquarters, Philadelphia and Minneapolis.
After 45 years in New York, said Frerichs, the agency decided that it needed a new location because it was having difficulty attracting new workers to the New York area.
"Looking ahead, Baltimore made sense on an institutional scale. We expect to be networking with other nonprofits and relief agencies, like Catholic Relief Services, in the Baltimore-Washington area," said Frerichs.
Pub Date: 2/01/97