History of The Lutheran Foundation

Our story began at the turn of the 20th century, when local Lutheran church leaders sensed an urgent need for an additional hospital in Fort Wayne. Inspired to transform their community, and led by The Reverend Philip Wambsganss, these men and women envisioned a Lutheran hospital that would care for the physical health of citizens, while demonstrating Christ’s love.

The first donation for the project came from a struggling Lutheran mission in Columbia City, and in that spirit of humble generosity, other area churches followed suit. In 1904, their goal was realized with the opening of the 25-bed Lutheran Hospital, which Reverend Wambsganss dedicated to “service of suffering humanity and the glory of God.”

For the next 90 years, Lutheran Hospital continued to fulfill an important community need, growing into one of Indiana’s leading healthcare providers. The sale of the hospital in 1995 generated $137 million, forming the Foundation as we know it today.

Inspired by our legacy, The Lutheran Foundation maintains a commitment to transforming and supporting the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of our community. While our predecessors offered compassionate, Christ-like care to treat physical illness, we apply the same philosophy to promote community wellness. Since 1995, we’ve invested over $194 million in regional organizations, churches, and schools.