samaritas about illustration

We walk with people in need, offering hope and compassion while upholding their dignity, advocating for equality and justice, and seeking creative solutions.

A social ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Samaritas is not just for Lutherans. The church has been meeting people’s needs since the early 1900s when a Lutheran "city missionary" arrived in Detroit to provide services to the poor. From the very beginning, Samaritas has reached out to individuals regardless of their religion, race, sexual orientation or ethnicity.

The organization was incorporated as the Lutheran Inner Mission League in 1934. Today, Samaritas spans the state’s Lower Peninsula with more than 70 program sites in 40 cities. Samaritas diverse staff share a dedication to serving their fellow humans by doing the right thing, for the right reasons, every day.

Offering Hope and Compassion

Our Mission:

Serving people as an expression of the love of Christ

Our Vision:

We connect people with families and communities, empower them to live their fullest life possible, and create a ripple effect of transformation.

Our Core Values:

  • People First
  • Quality Service
  • Stewardship
  • Innovation
  • Communication

Guiding Principles:

  • We work as one team
  • We support and trust each other
  • We celebrate differences and respect others
  • We find individualized solutions
  • We act with integrity and transparency
  • We do not cut corners
  • We go above and beyond
  • We strive for maximum efficiency
  • We optimize resources
  • We seek opportunities
  • We welcome new ideas
  • We challenge the status quo
  • We lead change
  • We listen
  • We encourage open, honest dialogue
  • We educate

click here to view our 2017 annual report

click here to view our 2017 quality report

Value Proposition:

We deliver the home, family and community most connected to the individual relational, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of those we serve, wherever they might fall on the continuum of care.

Through permanence, we deliver a sense of love, belonging, health and well-being that empowers those we serve with a feeling of personal control, confidence and worthiness to live their fullest life. When those we serve reach their full potential they, in turn, promote the dignity of others, creating a ripple effect out into the community that achieves the greatest transformation for all.

Transforming entire communities one life at a time, Samaritas has been sending ripples of positive change across Michigan since 1934.

Positioning Statement:

More than safe harbor in crisis, we come through, when others don’t, with a path home. We connect all people based on their individual circumstances with the families and communities that will empower them to live their fullest life possible.

Potential fulfilled, those we serve then promote the dignity of others, launching into the community an unending ripple effect of transformation.

Our History

settlement houseAmong the immigrants making their way to Detroit at the end of the 19th century were many Lutherans from Germany and Scandinavia. They followed the Biblical imperative to help others in need especially fellow immigrants with food, clothing and jobs.

Congregational outreach efforts came together in 1909 in the Missionsbund (Mission Federation), a group dedicated to "inner mission" (social service) work. The Lutheran Inner Mission League of Greater Detroit was incorporated in 1934, changing its name soon afterward to The Lutheran Charities. Its ministry grew to include child welfare work, a settlement house and services to the elderly. provider with senior residentIn 1959, the organization merged with a similar group in Saginaw and was renamed Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.

Samaritas is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is the largest faith-based non-profit human service organization in the state. Samaritas spans the Lower Peninsula with more than 70 programs in 40 cities. These include foster care, adoption,subsidized housing, nursing homes, community centers and services to the homeless, refugees and persons with developmental disabilities.

Motivated to serve others as an expression of the love of Christ, Samaritas helps those in need regardless of religion, race, ethnicty or national origin.


Executive Staff

Photo of Sam Beals

Sam Beals

Chief Executive Officer
Photo of Vickie Thompson-Sandy

Vickie Thompson-Sandy

Photo of Jenny Cederstrom

Jenny Cederstrom

Chief Financial Officer
Photo of Kelli Dobner

Kelli Dobner

Photo of Harry Vijayakumar

Harry Vijayakumar

Vice President, Information Technology
Photo of Mary Muliett

Mary Muliett

Vice President, Home and Community
Photo of Todd Hanselman

Todd Hanselman

Vice President, Human Resources
Photo of Lena Wilson

Lena Wilson

Photo of Karen Monday

Karen Monday


Board of Directors

Board Chairman

Dale Gerard


David Morin


Michelle Gaggini


Dan Carter


Andrew Blum
Randy Asmus
Rev. Canon Dr. William Danaher
Bloomfield Hills
Sarah Prues Hecker
Grosse Pointe
Mary Anne Jones
Grand Rapids
Michael Kneale
The Rev. Donald P. Kreiss, Bishop
Southeast Michigan Synod, ELCA
Jason Paulateer
Bloomfield Hills
Matt Pedersen
Brett VanderKamp