Lutheran World Relief, IMA World Health Complete Merger
Lutheran World Relief

Two international humanitarian nonprofits effectively have merged into one organization. Baltimore, Md.-based Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and IMA World Health in Washington, D.C., created a combined organization of 550 staff, with one chief executive officer and identical boards of directors.

Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard, president and CEO of LWR, will lead the new organization. He’s been president and CEO of LWR since 2014 and was U.S. ambassador to Greece and Belarus. Rick Santos, who served as CEO of IMA (Interchurch Medical Assistance) World Health for the past nine years, will serve as senior advisor for the transition through the end of May.

The Boards of Directors of the two organizations voted in October 2018 to move forward with plans to combine operations. IMA and and LWR began exploring “a more robust partnership” a year earlier, according to a spokesman. For now, the organization will continue with the name, Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health.

Of the 550 combined staff, about 90 are based in the Baltimore office and 50 in the Washington, D.C., office, with a small number of employees in St. Paul, Minn. About 400 staff are based internationally in 20 counties. The Baltimore and St. Paul offices will remain open. Due to the complementary nature of their programs, there is very little overlap in positions and staff size is expected to remain about the same, according to a spokesman.

IMA World Health is the larger organization in terms of revenue, with almost $95 million, including $70 million classified as government on its annual federal Form 990 for the year ending June 2018. LWR is the larger of the two by net assets, with $38.6 million, to IMA’s $8 million. LWR reported nearly $55 million in total revenue for the year ending September 2017, with expenses of $51 million and net assets of $38.6 million.

The two organizations have worked together for more than a half century. IMA World Health was founded in 1960 by a coalition of faith-based organizations, including LWR, to provide medical supplies to the world’s poorest populations. The combined agency is expanding programs to improve water and sanitation and thwart cholera in Haiti, prevent the spread of Ebola along the border of Uganda and Congo, and provide treatment for pediatric and cervical cancer in Tanzania.