June 5, 2014 PRESS RELEASE — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Receives $100,000 Grant from the LCMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Miji Bell
mbell@lirs.org, (410) 230-2841

BALTIMORE, MD – The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) has recently granted $100,000 to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to support three key program areas:

$50,000 will be designated to support the LIRS Access to Justice Program, which engages congregations to help provide holistic services to immigrants and migrants released from detention on the journey to integration. The grant will expand educational resources for local congregations, increase staff capacity, and cover travel to support local partners.

$40,000 will support an employment and mentoring pilot program in partnership with Lutheran Child and Family Service of Pennsylvania, a service of Liberty Lutheran and an LCMS Recognized Service Organization. The project supports refugees and mentors in building connections and advancing career opportunities.

$10,000 is designated for a project to respond to the humanitarian crisis of migrant children crossing the U.S. border alone. It is estimated that between 80,000 and 120,000 children will enter the country this year. With the LCMS’s support, LIRS will seek to improve the policies, practices and advocacy efforts that serve unaccompanied migrant children who come to the United States without a parent or guardian.

“The LCMS is pleased to make this special grant in recognition of the 75th anniversary of LIRS,” says Rev. Bart Day, executive director, Office of National Mission, LCMS. “We appreciate LIRS and its willingness to partner with our districts and congregations in providing resources and support to those working to welcome new Americans. We pray these three special projects will engage more LCMS members in this important work.”

“We are deeply grateful for the support of the LCMS for life saving initiatives,” says Linda Hartke, president and CEO of LIRS. “This level of demonstrated commitment from one of our most respected church partners undergirds our shared ministry and allows us to extend our efforts to support migrants and refugees as they fully integrate into local communities.”

As the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the U.S., LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States. Celebrating 75 years of service and advocacy this year, LIRS has helped more than 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

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