Nonprofits are: RESPONSIVE

This post is one in a series exploring each of the seven attributes – being productive, empowering, effective, enriching, reliable, responsive, and caring – revealed in the Listening Post’s Nonprofit Values Survey in detail. Please visit the Nonprofit Values overview page to browse our other items from this initiative, including the full report, blog posts, and outreach materials, and follow us on Twitter or Facebook to join the conversation.
For this post, we asked Listening Post Organization and survey respondent Landis Homes to tell us about how their organization embodied one of the seven values. The following guest post by CEO Larry Zook.


The first residents of the Landis Homes Community, circa 1964

By Larry Zook
Ever since opening in 1964, Landis Homes has been committed to providing the highest quality in all it does. From early beginnings as a single building in the middle of farm fields in rural Lancaster County, Pa., to currently serving more than 750 persons living in cottages, apartments, suites, personal care and healthcare, Landis Homes has also always been looking forward while listening carefully. From the beginning, we have valued listening to residents and were one of the early retirement communities to encourage a resident council and to include residents on our Board of Directors.
In 2008, the Landis Homes board began a strategic planning process by interviewing more than 150 stakeholders including residents, team members, church partners and even suppliers. As the board listened, it became clear a new structure was needed. Being responsive to the felt needs of stakeholders led to the creation of an umbrella organization, Landis Communities.
Listening well led to the creation of four strategic goals for Landis Communities: keeping our retirement community strong and vital; providing a number of Affordable Living options, including new models of age 55+ active adult living in the city of Lancaster and elsewhere; providing services at home – supporting aging in place; and developing creative partnerships in support of all of these areas.

Paying attention to the needs and desires of those wanting to come to Landis Homes led to the building of the new South Campus with its cottages and award-winning hybrids. Hearing the concern for sustainability and the organization’s existing passion for stewardship led to these newest units being LEED Gold certified!

A view of Landis Homes’ new South Campus residential expansion, a LEED Gold certified facility.

Responding to the call of stakeholders also led to the strengthening of our Adult Day Services and Landis At Home, a licensed home-care agency. We now have a full time director at both of these entities, increasing our capacity to respond to the needs of the clients.

A growing voice in the listening project led to the movement toward creating Steeple View Lofts. Taking a four story tobacco warehouse in the vibrant downtown of Lancaster City and turning it into market rate rentals for people 55 and above was a direct result of responding to a call for urban based living options as well as for Landis Communities to provide places for people who either do not desire living in a continuing care community or may not be able to afford it. You can learn more about the project in the video below. This project fits the gap between subsidized housing and traditional options, a part of our commitment to being responsive where governments and the market are not providing options.


In responding to the goals set by the board, through the listening project, Landis Communities also has affiliated with Welsh Mountain Home, a small personal care facility on the other side of Lancaster County which serves many with fewer resources. With a shared heritage in the Mennonite Church, Welsh Mountain Home fit well with the goals and cultures of Landis Communities and expands the offerings of the organization even more.
Another strongly heard call was to serve as an incubator of ideas in the area of alternatives to traditional continuing care facilities. This meshes well with the responsive value of pursuing innovative approaches where necessary. A number of people have approached Landis Communities about helping in the formation of a cohousing effort in Lancaster County. We are stepping in and providing a small amount of staff time and structure to see if this effort can get off the ground.
Our vision and mission at Landis Communities is “Enriching Lives… by following God’s call to creatively serve the diverse needs and interests of older adults by developing opportunities and collaborative relationships.” We believe that good planning begins with good listening, and then being responsive to our stakeholders and the larger community in which we serve.
~ Larry Zook, President and CEO of Landis Communities

Cross posted from Landis Homes. Very special thanks to Larry Zook and Landis Homes for being part of this conversation.

Chelsea Newhouse

View posts by Chelsea Newhouse
Chelsea Newhouse served as the Center's Communications Manager and managed the Nonprofit Economic Data and Philanthropication thru Privatization Projects. Prior to joining the Center in 2008, she worked for the Johns Hopkins University Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, the Baltimore Sun, and as a community organizer for Clean Water Action and the Democratic National Committee. She holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Virginia. Following the Center's closing, Chelsea now serves as Project Manager at the East-West Management Institute, where she continues to work on the Philanthropication thru Privatization Project and other civil society development initiatives around the world. Chelsea can be reached at