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Honoring a Legacy of Welcome
The Dorothy Rossing Endowment Fund for Immigrants and Refugees
The Dorothy Rossing Fund for Immigrants and Refugees was established in honor of Dorothy Rossing, who helped and supported immigrants in her home, through the churches she has been involved in, and by volunteering as an ambassador for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
Born in Minneapolis and raised in Sioux City, Iowa, Dorothy’s interest in the resettlement of immigrants stretched back a half-century to her days as a member of the Lutheran Student Association at Iowa State University. She studied food chemistry at Iowa State University and nutrition at Northern Illinois University, and then married and raised her five children in Minnesota and Illinois. She worked as a food sanitarian and then a nutrition educator, coordinating the county Women-Infant-Children (WIC) nutrition program.
Even while working full time, she dedicated her time to supporting refugees. At Bethlehem Lutheran Church in DeKalb, Illinois she was a key leader in the congregation’s sponsorship of a refugee family from Cambodia in 1981 when LIRS encouraged churches to do so. Going well beyond financial support, she invited the entire Cambodian family to live in her home for several months until they knew enough English and had gained skills to function well in the US. The church found jobs for the refugees, furnished their apartment, and helped them for many years in adjusting to American life. Over the years, she welcomed more refugees, international students and others to live in her home for months at a time, whenever she saw a need.
When she retired, Dorothy moved to Minneapolis and continued to provide a welcoming space for immigrants. One Togolese immigrant couple lived with her for four months, and she was able to help them bring their children to the U.S., which brought her great joy. Seeing the need many immigrants have for short-term loans, she worked with her congregation, Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer in Minneapolis, to set up and manage a Togo Loan Fund that provided loans to Togolese immigrants. The congregation found that “micro loans revitalize the ones receiving and the ones giving.” During these years she also served as a LIRS Ambassador, setting up tables at numerous church events to tell others about the important work LIRS does of helping refugees and other immigrants resettle.
A loan fund named for Dorothy Rossing, a committed and long-term supporter of the work of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, is a fitting way to honor her legacy of supporting immigrants in need as they establish their new lives in the United States.