Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1904 was a historic and eventful day for hundreds of Missouri Synod Lutherans of Fort Wayne and vicinity. It was truly a joyous day of Thanksgiving as they gathered together with friends and neighbors to participate in the dedication and formal opening of Lutheran Hospital, at Fairfield and Wildwood Avenues. The Judge Lindley M. Ninde’s 21-room homestead, which had been purchased in 1903, was rehabilitated and converted into a 25-patient-bed facility. Plans for this new institution began as early as 1878, but later were developed under the direction of the Reverend Philipp Wambsganss, pastor of Emmaus Lutheran Church, president of The Lutheran Hospital Association, and historically recognized as the founder of the hospital. It was he, who said, that the hospital was dedicated to the service of suffering humanity and to the glory of God.
The Ninde dwelling was an imposing structure at the turn-of-the century, facing Fairfield Avenue, and surrounded by a park-like setting. It was purchased by the hospital trustees for $10,000, and remodeling cost an additional $9,617. At the dedication, an offering was taken to help defray some of the expenses. It was learned that day that a struggling Lutheran mission in Columbia City, under the pastorate of the Reverend Heinrich Jungkuntz, gave the first contribution to the hospital amounting to $52.65. It is this spirit of giving that The Lutheran Foundation carries forward today.
The Lutheran Foundation was established in 1996 after the sale of The Lutheran Hospital. Since then,The Lutheran Foundation has awarded more than $60 million through Regular, Partnership and Emergency Grants to congregations or non-profit organizations within its 10-county service area.
Guided by Christ, and given new and unique ways to share His compassion, the Foundation’s vision continues to evolve through the efforts of its Member Congregations, Board of Directors, and Staff.
The Foundation offers Regular Grants (including Capital), Partnership Grants, and Emergency Grants. In addition, the Foundation manages a variety of restricted funds, with disbursements made regularly according to the funds’ established guidelines.