History, Mission & Values


Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis is a grantmaking ministry of 81 St. Louis area Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod congregations.

Our history began over 160 years ago with Reverend Johann F. Buenger, who had a vision for a “place where sick fellow believers and also other sick, led to us by the Lord, could be taken up and cared for physically and spiritually.” Rev. Buenger, a German immigrant who had lost his wife and three infant sons to various illnesses, launched a campaign to build a new hospital for those in need here in St. Louis.

In 1858, with financial support from Lutheran congregations across the city, Rev. Buenger founded the hospital that would later become the Lutheran Medical Center. Over the years, the hospital grew – providing quality care, outreach and nurse training to the community in the name of Jesus. From its earliest days, Rev. Buenger recognized the guiding hand of a gracious God as the hospital undertook its healing ministry.

When the Lutheran Medical Center was sold in 1984, an endowment was created with the proceeds. Today, that endowment is managed by Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis. For the most part, our 81 Delegate Member congregations are the same churches that owned the Lutheran Medical Center.

Inspired by Rev. Buenger’s vision and the compassion of Christ Jesus, we continue to support efforts that improve the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual health and well-being of all people in our community.


Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis sees the Church brought into the lives of hurting people and people included in the healing life of the Church.


To the honor of Christ Jesus, Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis seeks the improved care of people in the greater St. Louis metropolitan region.

Core Values

Christian Faith

Lutheran Foundation supports services provided by Christian congregations and organizations that provide people an opportunity to identify, acknowledge and discuss their faith in Jesus.

Holistic Health

Lutheran Foundation supports efforts that improve the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual health and well-being of the people served and those providing service.


Lutheran Foundation believes relationships are the primary vehicle for transformation and enters into its work with the intent to make connections with the organizations it funds that continue beyond a grant.


Lutheran Foundation convenes multiple stakeholders working within specific Focus Areas to increase impact across organizations.


Lutheran Foundation supports efforts that have clearly defined objectives and measurable outcomes that address clearly demonstrated community needs. Lutheran Foundation favors efforts that are based in authentic community experience and integrate continuous reflection and learning to identify opportunities to innovate and improve.


Lutheran Foundation supports efforts that maximize human and financial resources in the communities served.

Summary Video: Who is Lutheran Foundation?