For National Non-Profit Day, we’re sharing with you what it means to be a non-profit organization. We recently sat down with Lisa Norwine, Chief Advancement Officer for LSS, for her thoughts.
What does it mean to be a non-profit organization?
I get asked this a lot and it’s rather simple – being a non-profit means we reinvest every dollar received. Whether they are dollars raised through philanthropic donations or business services, funds are reinvested to benefit our residents, clients, and team members. We do not distribute dividends or profits to shareholders.
Thanks for simplifying that. So, what are some examples of ways funds are reinvested?
There are many ways for this to occur. One example is capital reinvestments to upgrade or renovate our communities and offices. This includes:
- Mason Pointe, a Life Plan Community in Town and Country, currently undergoing renovations to meet the growing needs of area older adults.
- The development of Crossroads Senior Living at Bevo Mill. This is being built in partnership with Tower Grove Community development Corporation and is another example of capital investment along with our commitment to serve more seniors in both economic and demographic diversity.
Another way to reinvest is by implementing the most innovative technology advances in the aging industry.
- LSS Life Plan Communities are the first in the metropolitan St. Louis area to offer Tovertafel, which is a new technology that uses light projections on a table to create an immersive experience. Playing Tovertafel games elicits joy and strengthens bonds between residents, staff, and family members.
- LSS Home and Community Based Services has incorporated virtual reality devices into their services to connect with the outside world. These are used as an intervention to combat social isolation, which can pose serious health risks for homebound older adults.
We also reinvest through a wide variety of programs.
- The Senior Connections Plus program in LSS Affordable Housing communities increases social opportunities among our affordable housing residents by matching a trained volunteer with a resident. The volunteer provides fun, companionship, light housekeeping assistance, and help navigating tech-savvy communication methods.
- Project Wellness brings a wellness nurse into each LSS Affordable Housing community to meet with residents and provide education and wellness resources. This program helps reduce the number of emergency room visits by identifying conditions before they become critical.
- The LSS Good Neighbor program is a cost-sharing program for low-income older adults living in the metropolitan St. Louis area needing LSS Private Duty services. While they may not be able to afford the help they need, LSS reinvests to cover the gap.
- Aging Answers from LSS is a free resource program for older adults. Whatever help you may need – moving options, financials review, someone to talk to – Aging Answers provides the help.
Wow, those sound incredible! What about some examples of how team members benefit from the reinvestment?
Yes, of course. In addition to the indirect benefits to team members from bringing in innovative technology, there are also scholarship opportunities, the benefits package offered, and, when specific requirements are met, emergency financial assistance. I am proud to be part of the World’s Best Culture organization, providing purpose-filled, rewarding work experiences for our team members.
What does it take to be a successful non-profit?
It takes a team effort. This includes staff, volunteers, donors – everyone.
It’s not just one team member or department, it’s every team member in every department: front-line caregivers, dining associates, IT, maintenance, and housekeeping team members, as well as our accountants, therapists, service coordinators, executives – everyone.
It takes donations of time and money. Both are vital to our continued success.
For LSS, it also takes our residents and the families who entrust us to care for their loved ones.
You mentioned volunteers and donors. What role do they play here?
Volunteers are vital to living out our mission every day. Volunteers provide thousands of hours every year across LSS, generously giving their time to assist in our mission. Their volunteerism brings joy to our residents and clients as well as support to team members.
Donors help sustain our programs and services. Monetary donations are crucial to non-profit organizations and LSS is no different. Donors may choose to support a specific service line or program or give to the greatest need. Donations enable our mission to thrive.
We are grateful for each and every volunteer and donor who supports us.
With thousands of non-profits in St. Louis, what makes LSS special?
We have a storied history going back to 1858. It’s a great honor to follow in the footsteps of our founder and thousands of donors and volunteers who have made LSS what it is today. I’m proud to be part of St. Louis’ largest non-profit organization and the 14th largest non-profit senior living provider in the United States. I’m excited to see what the future holds.
How can others support?
There are several volunteer opportunities available, you can find those at www.lssliving.org/volunteer/ (Volunteer | Lutheran Senior Services (lssliving.org).
You may also donate anytime by calling 314.373.4081 or online at www.lssliving.org/give-online/ (Give Online | Lutheran Senior Services (lssliving.org))