LSS Founders Family & Distinguished Partners Luncheon

You may have heard us describe the LSS mission as a ministry of presence. But what exactly does that mean? Our programs are designed to meet people where they are in life – without judgment, to provide hope and healing, and to offer a chance for them to change their future. But the truth is our ministry is brought to life, sustained and performed by you – our supporters, partners and advocates.

On August 17, we paid tribute to those who breathe life into our mission at our annual LSS Foundation Founders Family & Distinguished Partners luncheon at Callaway’s in Sioux Falls.

The LSS Foundation Founders Family was established in 1994 to honor those who have committed to establishing a lasting legacy with either a significant gift to the LSS Foundation or by planning a gift to LSS beyond their lifetime.

JamieSince its inception, the LSS Foundation has disbursed over $3 million to continue the mission of LSS and this fund continues to grow each year thanks to our many generous supporters who make our mission a part of their legacy.

This year we welcomed one such supporter as a new member of the LSS Foundation Founders Family, Jamie Lennon. Jamie works for LSS and is a Development Director for the southeast region. We are grateful for his consideration. To learn more about the LSS Foundation Founders Family please click here.

One of the many blessings of living in South Dakota is living in a community of shared values such as the value of caring compassion for each other. These values are reflected not only in our individuals, but in our corporations, our churches and in our communities. At this event, we also celebrated those relationships and paid

particular thanks to our 2018 distinguished partners.

Community partner of the year

DSC04197We recognized and honored Avera Health, who have been a strong and consistent supporters of LSS for many years. Fred Slunecka honored LSS when he took on the role of co-chair of the “Campus on East Bank Campaign” Chamber approved capital campaign. Fred’s leadership was invaluable to the success of the campaign as was Avera’s financial contribution in

support of our efforts. Thanks to them, LSS raised over $1.25 million for the campaign and allowed us to purchase the former Kilian Community College on East Bank and create a permanent home for the LSS Center for New Americans. Additionally, Dr. Dave Kapaska has been a strong advocate for LSS within the business community and Sioux Falls at large specifically our work with refugee resettlement. Avera is also a significant supporter of our Mentoring Program with 33 of their employees serving as mentors…an increase of over 20% from the previous year.

Distinguished Volunteer of the year

Every year LSS recognizes an individual who has made a distinct and lasting difference for the ministry of presence which is LSS. One such volunteer is this year’s award winner. Erv Nesheim came out of retirement to take on a very specific project for the LSS Canyon Hills Center in Spearfish. Erv took on the project of building a multi-use outbuilding for Canyon Hills. The building will be used for supplementary classroom space where young adults can learn various life skills, including basic carpentry and wood working as well as the fundamentals of auto maintenance and repair.

This outbuilding will allow Canyon Hills to make better use of the space in the existing residential facility, allowing them to increase the number of clients who can be served from 25 to 30. Erv donated his time, vision and professional leadership starting with the design, serving as project manager and doing much of the labor himself. He put in over 1,000 hours on the project and traveled over 16,000 miles during the summer of 2017 sometimes working when the temperature was over 100 degrees. This dedication allowed LSS to use volunteers to cover the working portion of the building with the materials being donated by his wife DeMaris. He continues to do finishing work with the landscaping and outdoor areas around the building. Erv was dedicated to ensuring the project was not just completed but done correctly so that LSS has a lasting space to use for the clients from Canyon Hills Center.

Distinguished Congregational Partner of the year


LSS is a social ministry of the ELCA. We depend on our congregational partners for not just financial support but faith support as well. Without them we cannot be the hands and feet of Christ who serve our brothers and sisters in need in South Dakota. We recognized and honored West Nidaros Lutheran Church of Crooks. West Nidaros has been a mission partner to LSS for many years. They have provided mission support to the LSS annual fund for over 20 years. Many members of the congregation are long time individual supporters as well. The WELCA group at West Nidaros has also been a sustaining supporter of the LSS mission for over 30 years. West Nidaros has provided early support for the Campaign for Hope ensuring that the campaign starts off on a sure footing so LSS can enhance its services to South Dakota for a second century. Members of West Nidaros, Dr. Marge and Ron Hegge are also volunteering on the campaign as campaign committee members for the Southeast region. The congregation has been very supportive of the efforts to update our facility on the Campus on East Bank and are excited about the additional elements that the Campaign for Hope will provide.

Thank you to all our distinguished partners and thank you to our many wonderful supporters who have committed to creating a lasting legacy of Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities.


Tonya Jackson
Development & Foundation Assistant

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