What We Do

  • Ecumen operates a variety of senior housing options and services from senior independent living communities to assisted living and long- term care and at-home and community-based services. In addition to our consumer services, we provide senior housing development, clinical consulting and senior housing management services for organizations outside of Ecumen.


  • Ecumen’s roots extend to the early 1860s, when through the Lutheran Church, we provided foster care services to children. In the early 1900s, Ecumen’s predecessor organizations began providing senior housing and services. Ecumen is today affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
  • Before becoming Ecumen in 2004, the organization has been known by several different names: Board of the Society of Mercy (1876), Board of Christian Service (1923), and the Board of Social Ministry (1962).
  • The name Ecumen comes from the Greek word for home: “oikos.” It underscores our mission to create “Home” for older adults wherever they choose to live.


  • Ecumen is a 501(c)(3) organization that is led by a 15-member board of trustees. Its 2011 officers are Lynn Anderson, chair; Bob Karrick, vice chair; Bob Hoffman, treasurer; and John Byom, secretary.
  • Trustees are elected by the Members Assembly, which are representatives of each of the six Minnesota synods of the ELCA. Kathryn Roberts was appointed as Ecumen's chief executive officer and president in 2003. Ecumen does not receive financial support from the ELCA and raises money through operations and fund development.

Annual Revenues and Operations

  • Ecumen's 2010 revenues were $128.7 million.
  • Ecumen currently operates nearly 70 communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Idaho. Among those communities, Ecumen operates 55 independent living and/or assisted living communities (39 owned, 16 managed) and 17 health care centers (8 owned, 9 managed).

Employees and Customers

  • Ecumen-owned and -managed communities employ approximately 4,000 employees and serve more than 10,000 people.
  • The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named Ecumen as one of Minnesota's "Best Places to Work" in 2005 through 2011. The StarTribune named Ecumen one of the State's top 100 workplaces in 2011.