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Faith Partnerships

Three women link arms and smile at the camera

EnCircle was founded by Lutherans as an orphanage over 130 years ago, and we have partnered with faith communities to live out our mission since then. We value the opportunity to be connected to Lutheran church families, as well as many other faith communities throughout Virginia. It is our history and foundation.

Why are we now called enCircle?

In 2020 our Board of Directors voted to change our "doing business as" name to enCircle. This means that while we are legally still named Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, we use the name enCircle internally and externally to do our work. The Board considered this decision prayerfully and thoughtfully for several years and ultimately determined that the new name would allow us to more fully accomplish our mission: To express God’s love by providing services and assistance to empower communities, families, and individuals in their journey to well-being.

The name enCircle appropriately conveys the inclusive nature of our organization while still keeping ties to the Virginia Synod and the ELCA through our use of colors, our legally registered name, our Board membership, our status as a Mission Partner of the Virginia Synod, and our many wonderful relationships with Lutheran congregations. We are grateful for our work together!

As Board member Bishop Bob Humphrey said in a message to members of the Virginia Synod, "The ELCA has a long history of widening our circle to be inclusive of all God's people and at the same time to encircle God's people with personal support and amazing resources. This is exactly what this name change is designed to symbolize for Lutheran Family Services of Virginia."

Partnering with enCircle

Program Sponsorships

Does participating in multiple opportunities year-round sound like an exciting partnership for your congregation or group? Consider becoming a Program Sponsor!

There are multiple levels of sponsorship available for Minnick Schools, Group Homes, Foster Care families, and more. Sponsors commit to three engagements per year and receive biannual updates on your program and recognition of your sponsorship. Sponsorship is a wonderful way to engage and support enCircle’s mission.


Have another idea or area of expertise that you would like to share? Contact Melissa Leecy, Director of Philanthropy, with details. We are excited to work with you in our mission to serve in our shared communities.

Current partnership opportunities include: 

  • Synod Minnick Tech Campaign to support Wi-Fi for remote learning
  • Back to School Supply Drives for schools and foster care families
  • Minnick School Backpack Meal Programs supplementing student meals throughout the school year
  • Thanksgiving Meal Drive for school families, Group Home residents, and foster care family holiday meals
  • Angel Tree Donations for students and their families, Group Home residents, and foster family holiday needs and gifts
  • Teacher, Direct Service Professional and Nurse Appreciation Day(s) supply donations
  • SOL Testing Snacks for students and foster families to support health and wellness during this important time
  • Camping Dreams Sponsorships that enable Group Home residents to attend sleepaway camp for a night each September
  • Virginia Synod Week of Service (annually in September) provides opportunities for congregations to engage directly in enCircle's mission to serve


Our lutheran heritage

We are proud of our rich Lutheran history – originally founded as an orphanage in Salem by a Lutheran pastor and supported by Lutherans throughout our history. We are a Mission Partner of the Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and are grateful for our ongoing work together.

Our history