Linda Hartke is President and CEO for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). In her role, Ms. Hartke oversees the direction and growth of LIRS and serves as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors. She has broadened LIRS’s reach to transform the lives of more newcomers and individuals who stand alongside them. Under Ms. Hartke’s leadership, LIRS has impacted major federal policies on immigration, grown the culture of welcome in American communities, and strengthened the participation of Lutherans and new Americans in volunteer and advocacy roles. Financial support has dramatically increased and diversified, and the programmatic reach of LIRS has expanded. Ms. Hartke’s strategic vision for LIRS is to be a catalyst for creating communities of welcome where newcomers can thrive.
Ms. Hartke’s leadership experience is exemplified by her previous role as the executive director of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, a global network of churches and agencies engaged in advocacy, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Her expertise on migrant issues comes from serving as chief of staff to Rep. Chet Atkins (D-MA), where she worked on issues affecting the Southeast Asian refugee community. Her passion for serving vulnerable migrants continued after her time on Capitol Hill, first as country director for Church World Service in Cambodia, and then as director of programs and operations at its New York headquarters.
An active Lutheran, Ms. Hartke is a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Baltimore and serves on the boards of several faith-based and advocacy organizations.