Strong commitment from churches and funding partners kept LWF finances stable

10 Jun 2022

Finance Chairperson presents positive financial results to Council

Oberkirchenrat Olaf Johannes Mirgeler

Oberkirchenrat Olaf Johannes Mirgeler, Vorsitzender des Finanzausschusses. Foto: LWB/S. Gallay

(LWI) – In challenging times when many countries were still dealing with the impacts of a global health pandemic, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) “was able to adapt well” due to the sustained support of its member churches and funding partners.

“I am delighted to see another year with overall positive results,” Oberkirchenrat Olaf Johannes Mirgeler, Finance Committee Chairperson, told the Council in his report on LWF’s finances in 2021.

LWF’s finances depend on a fundraising budget. In 2021, the consolidated income was EUR 162 million, which covered 99 percent of the budgeted income. This was 13 percent higher than the EUR 143 million raised in 2020. “The support of member churches and funding partners is highly valued and shows strong commitment to the LWF,” he said.

The support of member churches and funding partners is highly valued and shows strong commitment to the LWF

– Oberkirchenrat Olaf Johannes Mirgeler, LWF Finance Committee Chairperson

There was more designated funding to LWF’s humanitarian response, and increased revenue from patient services provided by the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) in East Jerusalem.

The global health pandemic and measures adopted by governments in many countries delayed LWF’s project implementation as staff continued working remotely and mostly from home. A number of planned activities were delayed until 2022, after consultation with funding agencies.

In 2021, the LWF spent EUR 153 million to implement its programs and projects around the world. This represents an overall annual increase of 10 percent over EUR 139 million in 2020.

“Strong and stable finances”

Mirgeler highlighted LWF’s reserves and a steady trend of “a very positive ongoing development, resulting in strong and stable finances.” Reserves had increased from EUR 50 million in 2017 to EUR 88 million in 2021.

The LWF Endowment Fund, which was established in 1999 to secure the organization’s financial stability, increased its assets. By the end of 2021, the total amount in the fund was CHF 18.7 million. As its investment income is allocated annually to LWF’s program and project activities, a total of CHF 968,438 was distributed in 2022.

In his concluding remarks the finance chairperson emphasized the need to continue strong financial management in view of the current and potential risks around the world. He cited the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, more unrest around the world including the war in Ukraine, and the changing focus of some of the funding partners as they adapt to these new contexts.

“This can impact the LWF’s finances substantially in the coming years and will require very careful financial management and leadership.”

LWF/P. Mumia

The LWF Council is the highest authority of the LWF between Assemblies. It consists of the President, the Chairperson of the Finance Committee, and 48 members from LWF member churches in seven regions. The current governing body was elected at the May 2017 Twelfth Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia. The 2022 meeting takes place, 9-14 June, at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva.

LWF/P. Mumia