WHEN LUTHERAN World Relief began contemplating alternatives to its leased headquarters in Manhattan, it focused on Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Baltimore -- and New York. The latter two were finalists in the site selection which recently ended in Baltimore's favor. A key reason, according to LWR President Kathryn Wolford, was that "board members greatly appreciated Baltimore's recognition of the importance of non-profit organizations in their community."
For several years now, the Baltimore city government and the private sector have been trying to lure more non-profit organizations here. Their efforts are paying off. When LWR completes its move to Baltimore by the year 2000, it will join Catholic Relief Services, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the International Youth Foundation which all have relocated here in recent years. There is enough overlap in the things those organizations do to create a critical mass that strengthens all non-profits here.
Lutheran World Relief is a joint operation of the 5.2-million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its more fundamentalist cousin, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which has 2.6 million members. The aid organization headquarters employs about 25 people. With its $19.3 million budget, it reaches nearly 50 countries -- from Armenia and Azerbaijan to Rwanda and Zaire.
Among Baltimore's attractions as a headquarters city for non-profits are its proximity to Washington and to three international airports plus its relatively inexpensive operating costs. These were factors in LWR's decision as well, particularly since Ms. Wolford, its president, also is the new chair of the board of directors of InterAction, an umbrella group that brings together over 150 U.S. relief and development organizations.
LWR is exactly the kind of high-profile non-profit organization Baltimore needs.
Pub Date: 2/06/97