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Our History

Good Shepherd’s storied history of giving dates back to its very founding in 1908. A man by the name of James Fritz, donated fifty cents to The Rev. John “Papa” Raker, a Lutheran pastor, in support of Papa and Estelle “Mama” Raker’s shared vision to start a home for crippled children and orphans in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This first gift gave rise to the legend that Good Shepherd began with “faith and fifty cents.”

The Rakers saw in the community other needs too. They expanded their mission to take in the destitute elderly. But Good Shepherd had needs of its own. “Presenting the cause,” is how Papa Raker referred to it, and that’s just what he did every chance he got.

From the start, donors responded. Gifts varied from collections taken by Sunday school children to canned fruits and vegetables, chickens, bolts of gingham, and soap.

Bequests and endowments were then and continue to be, essential to helping fund Good Shepherd’s programs and services. Other gifts of stocks and securities further support our mission.

From a simple farm house on St. John Street in Allentown, Pennsylvania, that first cared for 37 children and 9 elderly people with physical handicaps more than a century ago Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, provides rehabilitation services at more than 30 locations in eight eastern Pennsylvania counties.

We are a faith-based organization affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Philanthropy was at the heart of this organization’s founding more than a century ago and remains so to this day. Pediatrics, assistive and rehabilitation technology and continuing education for our associates are among the many programs and services you, as a donor, can choose to support.

Nearly 70,000 people came to Good Shepherd in the past year for specialized programs in stroke, orthopedics, brain injury, spinal cord injury, pediatrics, amputation and more.

For more information, call 610-778-1075 or Donate Now.