Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota: doing well by doing good

Frankly I was shocked to see the size of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota when Minnesota reader Debbie brought their financials to my attention after I posted how LSS was busy now helping to change the demographic make-up of St. Cloud, MN as they resettle Somalis to a city, I am told, is already over 20% Somali and where a controversy is underway about a large mosque/school complex the Somalis want in a residential neighborhood.

Mark Peterson, former President and CEO of Lutheran Social Service of MN was making $441,767 a year in salary and benefits doing God’s work, which included resettling tens of thousands of Somali Muslims to Minnesota!

Although he has left, former President and CEO, Mark Peterson of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota made a cool $441,767 reported in their most recently available Form 990.   Imagine that—more than the President of the United States of America, and more than double what Members of Congress and US Senators make!  What on earth was a man (doing God’s work!) taking a salary like that, primarily paid for by US and Minnesota taxpayers and contributions from the Lutheran flock?

Where are the picketing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstrators outside the offices of these fat cats?  They aren’t even making the money the good old fashioned capitalist way, but are siphoning off tax payer dollars from hardworking Americans!

Imagine how many poor people could be helped on that salary?

And where is the ACLU screaming about the separation of church and state?

Interestingly, I have the Form 990 (Oct. 2010-Sept.2011) supplied by my reader (it is a Pdf) and the Form 990 (same year) available at Guidestar (here) and the one available at Guidestar contains a blank page or two where the large salaries of LSS employees are reported.

The Pdf version does list the salaries.  The new CEO is Jodi Harpstead.  She was the former Executive VP of LSS and she made $249,508 in salary and benefits as the second in command (that is more than the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court makes).  Presumably she is now raking-in what Peterson did.

Readers, these salaries (at a state level!) are larger than some of the salaries we’ve reported for the nine major federal resettlement contractors.  I think only the International Rescue Committee has salaries as large as these.

New CEO Jodi Harpstead. As second in command to Peterson she took home more than US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts makes!

In that year, LSS was an $89 million operation.   $63.3 million came from ‘government fees and contracts,’ $1.2 million was from federated campaign (that’s where govt. employees donate to non-profits), and $5.2 million was ‘pass through revenue’ which I presume came down from the national Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and is federal taxpayer money.  Only $7 million of their $89 million appears to come from private charity.

Salaries and wages for the organization totaled $40 million plus approximately another $10 million in benefits, their offices cost them $7 million and another $3 million went to travel expenses.  How much does it cost to travel around Minnesota in a year?

If LSS of Minnesota had to rely on private charity, they would not exist as a political powerhouse!  I’ll grant they are doing other work for the poor than resettling refugees, but my major objections are two-fold.  As a non-profit, concerned citizens cannot get to their financial information in the same way one could research and then complain about a government agency that is accountable to elected officials; and secondly, frankly, they are lobbying for causes that you (the taxpayer) may not support.   Here LSS opposed Voter ID for example.

All the while they masquerade as charitable Christians.

Like most of these quasi-government agencies, we support (we pay for!) their political activity!

For new readers, see ‘Why so many Somalis in Minnesota’ here.   Thank LSS, Catholic Charities, and World Relief!  Way back in 2008, a reader told us how Minnesota was a prime target for the stealth Jihad, check it out here.

I just had an amusing (not really amusing) thought—-are these Lutherans from Minnesota from the same stock that is now willy-nilly destroying Sweden.   Maybe there is some sort of cultural ‘death wish’ gene?