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ABOUT US

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We create a world of...

SAFE Children
STRONG
Families
VIBRANT
Communities

Lutheran Services Florida helps communities build healthier, happier, and hope-filled tomorrows by impacting the lives of 1 in 50 Floridians through various services offered across the state.

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LEADERSHIP

Sam Sipes
Samuel M. Sipes
PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Sam has a background in leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, as well as experience in child welfare, social services and programs for senior citizens.

Sam has a passion for helping and serving children, families, and communities that are underserved and vulnerable. During his tenure at LSF, Sam has overseen the agency’s tremendous growth around the state as LSF has more than tripled in size and impact since 2013.

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” –James C. Collins
Bob Wydra
Bob Wydra
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Known as a nonprofit executive with an extensive financial and accounting background, Bob joined LSF in 2016. He comes to LSF after spending 15 years as Controller and CFO at the Children’s Home Society of Florida. With over 25 years in the not for profit sector, Bob is well versed in nonprofit accounting, fiscal policy compliance, budgeting, forecasting, and strategic planning.

“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.” –Unknown
Amelia Fox
Amelia Fox
CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER

Amelia brings deep knowledge in developing and executing strategies for growth across multiple industries, and has significant experience in building people-focused organizations and designing and implementing programs to improve outcomes and overall business processes. She has led several organizational transformations to include building a strategic planning team and developing global strategies for growth at a multi-billion dollar payments company. She holds a BA in psychology from Davidson College and an MBA from Yale University, School of Management.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11
Phil Hubbell
Phil Hubbell
EXECUTIVE OF HUMAN RESOURCES

Phil is a dynamic hands-on human resources leader from the private sector earning his Bachelor’s degree from Duke University and his MBA from Babson College in Massachusetts. Phil most recently worked for Jabil Circuit as Global HR VP, leading HR work in several corners of the globe, but his passion to help others and his faith drew him to LSF. He sits on several Community Boards that tie into our mission, including Starting Right, Now, a nonprofit organization in Hillsborough County meeting the needs of homeless families and children. Phil enjoys playing tennis, traveling with his family, and taking in all sports events.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mike Carroll
Mike Carroll
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF PROGRAMS

Mike joined LSF in 2018 after retiring as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families ending a state career that spanned more than 28 years within the department. As the Executive Vice President of Programs, Mike is responsible for overseeing a variety of
statewide services including child welfare and juvenile justice programs totaling $60 million with more than 700 employees.

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi
Bob Bialas
Bob Bialas
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF
CHILDREN & HEAD START SERVICES

Bob joined LSF in 2019 after retiring as a Captain from the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). Bob served in many different capacities throughout his 26+ years with the USPHS. As the Executive Vice President of Children and Head Start Services, Bob is responsible for overseeing Head Start services for approximately 5,800 children and families, totaling $53 million with over 750 employees throughout Florida.

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier” – Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Christine Cauffield
Dr. Christine Cauffield
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER &
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT - SAMH

Dr. Christine Cauffield has served as President and CEO of organizations providing integrated health services for children through seniors, including a corporation that provides in-patient, acute psychiatric care to seniors in crisis. She received her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology and completed her Internship and Post-Doctoral Residency at Harvard Medical School, where she specialized in geriatric neuropsychology. She serves as President of Florida Council on Aging, President of Florida Association of Managing Entities, and serves on the Executive Board of Smart Justice of Florida.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” –Maya Angelou
Jim Clark
Jim Clark
Executive Vice President of Agency Advocacy

Prior to joining LSF, he was the President and CEO at Daniel Memorial Inc. for over 25 years. He also served on LSF Health Systems Board and was involved with our Duval Head Start program. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). He designed the current Statewide Inpatient Psychiatric Program (SIPP) concept utilized in Florida and expanded the state adoption hotline. He has spearheaded projects for homeless youth and orchestrated creating a school for youth with special needs in Jacksonville. Jim has incredible relationships throughout the state of Florida, and it shines through his philanthropic successes over the past year at LSF.

"Whoever is happy will make others happy too."
–Anne Frank
Robert Haley
Robert W. Haley, Esq.
General Counsel

Prior to joining LSF in 2016, Rob served as a Senior Associate with a Tampa based civil litigation firm. In this role he primarily practiced in the areas of plaintiff’s side insurance disputes (general liability and property), wrongful death, catastrophic injury, and mass tort proceedings. Additionally, his experience includes the direct legal representation of clients similarly served in multiple programs operated by LSF, including Immigrant Detainees, Refugees, Asylees, and Guardianship populations.

Rob is an admitted member in good standing of The Florida Bar

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
- Margaret Mead
Sam Sipes
Bob Wydra
Amelia Fox
Phil Hubbell
Mike Carroll
Bob Bialas
Christine Cauffield
Jim Clark
Robert Haley
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Slide One
1982

Lutheran Services Florida established to sustain the work of Lutheran churches that came together in the 70’s and 80’s to address the Vietnamese and Cuban refugee crises.

1984
1984

LSF expanded its statewide footprint with residential and counseling services in Southwest and Southeast Florida, including its first runaway youth shelter in Broward County.

1990
1990-92

LSF Children & Families in Need of Services and LSF Guardianship programs launched in the Northwest. LSF opened the doors to a new runaway shelter in Fort Myers

1990
2004

LSF added case management services in Lee and Pinellas counties to work with children and families in the child welfare system.

2012
2012

LSF added Head Start and Early Head Start services , growing from Belle Glade and Hillsborough County programs to include Duval, Pinellas, and Palm Beach counties

2012
2013

LSF Health Systems began serving Northeast and North Central Florida, improving the quality and level of mental health and substance abuse care in Florida.

2012
2019-21

LSF added new residential services for youth with the opening of Grace Place in Broward County and Dream Center in Sarasota County.

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Slide One
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HISTORY

In 1975 when the Vietnam War ended, thousands of refugees sought safety in the United States arriving with nothing more than the clothes they wore. The needs of the refugees were tremendous and Lutheran churches responded quickly providing them with immediate aid in the form of food, clothing and temporary homes. This assistance was vital; however, it soon became apparent that a larger, ongoing and more organized effort was necessary to help the newcomers adjust to life in a new country.

As a result, Lutheran churches sponsored employment programs to help refugees find jobs so they could truly begin building new lives in America. In 1980, when thousands of Cubans came to the United States during the Mariel Boatlift, Lutheran churches responded once again helping refugees with resettlement needs and employment assistance.

When Lutheran Services Florida (formerly Lutheran Ministries of Florida) was established in 1982, the agency assumed responsibility for the employment programs started by Lutheran churches in Miami and Tampa. Whereas initially the greatest demand for assistance came from Vietnamese and Cuban refugees, soon counselors from Lutheran Services Florida (LSF) were helping refugees from Central America, Haiti and other parts of the Caribbean, Bosnia, Sudan and many other countries. As the number of refugees increased dramatically throughout the years, LSF responded to the growing demand for services by expanding its programs. Today LSF has Refugee and Immigration programs throughout Southeast and Central Florida.

Other programs located throughout the state include: Guardianship Services, Youth Shelters, Head Start and Early Head Start, the Child Care Food Program, Counseling Services, Disaster Response, Sexual Abuse Treatment Program, Teen Court, Ryan White Program, Case Management for Child Welfare, Foster Care and Adoptions,  and Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

Continuing its mission, LSF continues to expand each division of services to meet existing needs and to bring healing, hope, and help to people in need throughout Florida. Today LSF has offices and programs in Belle Glade, Crestview, Fort Myers, Fort Walton Beach, Jacksonville, Largo, Lauderdale Lakes, Miami, Milton, New Port Richey, Oakland Park, Orlando, Pensacola, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

LUTHERAN SERVICES FLORIDA CENTRAL SERVICES | 3627 W. WATERS AVE | TAMPA, FL 33614 | PHONE: (813) 875-1408 | FAX: (813) 875-1302


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