Nonprofit rebrands with more ‘inclusive’ name
After more than eight decades of being identified as Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, the nonprofit is now going by a new name.
Detroit-based LSSM, one of Michigan’s largest faith-based nonprofits, announced today it has officially changed its brand name to “Samaritas.” The new logo and tagline feature the words: “Connect. Empower. Transform.”
The word “Samaritas” is a neologism created to fit the nonprofit’s mission, combining the words “Samaritan” and “itas.”
“It’s a creation. A Samaritan is a person who does good because it’s the right thing to do,” said Vickie Thompson-Sandy, president of Samaritas. “The suffix ‘itas’ is a Latin suffix that means an active state of being. So, it’s the active state of being the Good Samaritan, the person who helps.”
The new brand roll out, which took about nine months to plan, will feature six regional launch events throughout the month of April. Those events are tentatively scheduled for Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Saginaw and Traverse City.
The Grand Rapids launch will take place at 11 a.m., April 5, at MapleCreek Assisted Living, 2000 32nd St. SE, Grand Rapids.
The brand change from LSSM to Samaritas is expected allow for better cohesion among the different locations, Thompson-Sandy said. There will be no changes to the nonprofit’s policies and mission to offer services for seniors, people with disabilities, adoption and foster care for children, and affordable residential communities.
The name brand also is meant to reflect a more inclusive and community-transformation focus. The trend of rebranding to a less denominational-based title is not uncommon — many Lutheran organizations have been doing it in recent years to reach a wider audience — given that the organization serves all walks of life, she said. For example, in 2014 the Worcester-based Lutheran Social Services in New England, one of the area’s oldest charities, changed its name to Ascentria Care Alliance for the same reason.
“Born of the Lutheran faith more than 80 years ago, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan has been hiring and serving people from all faiths, ethnicities, life stages and lifestyles for generations,” said Sam Beals, CEO of Samaritas.
“Yet strategic planning research we recently conducted revealed that many people did not seek us out as an employer or service provider, because they were not of the Lutheran faith. We needed to address that perception if we are to thrive as an employer of choice and continue to drive greater impact in our communities.”
Samaritas offers services in more than 50 Michigan cities, including Grand Rapids, Montague, Whitehall, North Muskegon, Muskegon, Allegan, Battle Creek, Charlotte, Kalamazoo and Galesburg.
“We are in the business of dignity promotion and, as such, our focus is on renewing the mind, body and spirit of every individual who crosses the threshold of a Samaritas site,” said Thompson-Sandy.
“But more than that, ours is a mission and vision that impacts the broader community. We believe that by connecting with and empowering individuals, they will, in turn, connect with and empower others to deliver that product of human dignity to more and more people in our Michigan communities.”
A website re-launch also is planned for later this year.