Immanuel Celebrates 135 Years of Service to Seniors in Omaha, Across the Midwest

Special for Emmanuel

In 1887, the United States was a frontier.

Immanuel’s founder, Rev. EA Fogelstrom, and five deaconesses started Immanuel on October 8, 1887 caring for the sick, the elderly, and orphans.

Pastor EA Fogelstrom and five deaconesses started Immanuel in 1887.


The work being done at that time was dangerous, and Pastor Fogelstrom had to travel by train across the country to raise the funds needed to start Immanuel. He was considered unusual in his thinking and vision, and had to rise above public sentiment to bring Immanuel to life.

From day one, Pastor Fogelstrom believed that all people, regardless of creed, color, or nationality deserved dignity. This belief has guided the organization since 1887.

It is this vision that has sparked Immanuel’s culture of innovation, inclusion and service to all.

As Emmanuel celebrated his centenary, the story of Emmanuel was said to have two phases:

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First, the founding period which began in 1887 and led to the Immanuel Deaconess Institute which served for 85 years at 34th and Meredith Avenue. The second phase built on this foundation and became Immanuel Medical Center, moving to its current location in 1974.

Caregiver with an elderly woman in a nursing home


Today, the modern story of Emmanuel includes two additional phases:

The third phase was the formation of Alegent Health in 1996, of which Immanuel was a sponsor with what became Catholic Health Initiatives. During this phase, Immanuel focused on senior housing and services and launched Immanuel Communities, sponsor of five senior housing campuses.

In 2012, a fourth phase began when Immanuel stepped down from his sponsorship of Alegent Creighton Health to focus more on expanding higher ministries, developing comprehensive post-acute care continuums, and launching the Foundation. Immanuel Vision to support a range of treatments. and church and community health ministries.

In recent years, Immanuel has focused his attention and resources on serving seniors in the communities of Omaha, Lincoln, Council Bluffs and Des Moines. Guided by their mission of “Christ-centered service to the elderly, to each other, and to the community”, Immanuel has worked proactively to become the Midwest’s leader in elder care and services.

Today, more than 2,600 seniors are served in 18 communities and three PACE centers by more than 1,500 of the best employees. The Immanuel Vision and Immanuel Community Foundations have touched the lives of over 600 residents and staff through the Resident Assistance Fund and the Helping Hands Financial and Scholarship Fund.

The Foundations have also awarded more than 800 grants to organizations in the communities Immanuel serves. In the past year alone, the Immanuel Vision Foundation has awarded more than $2.4 million in grants to local 501(c)(3) nonprofit charities whose missions meet the physical, emotional and Spirituals of the Elderly; meet community health needs; and/or support the ministry of the ELCA Church.

Immanuel’s nonprofit mission enables continuous improvement of communities, programmatic initiatives, and resident experiences. This was evidenced by the completion of 14 major construction projects over the past four years. Immanuel’s longstanding and thoughtful stewardship of resources enables endowed offerings to aging adults, especially in underserved demographics, through their Affordable Communities and PACE programs.

Evidence of this has emerged over the uncertainty of the past few years, as Immanuel is one of the few senior living organizations that remains focused on affordable development plans and improving existing communities.

Deeply rooted in their vision statement, “Everyone will grow and age with dignity, security and well-being”, Immanuel’s investment and reinvestment in its communities and centers demonstrates the commitment to serve the elderly with all physical or financial needs.

Emmanuel’s commitment is to provide Christ-centered service to the elderly, to each other and to the community, and he will continue to do so for another 135 years and beyond.

From independent living to assisted living, memory support, affordable living for ages 55 and older, and long-term care, Immanuel offers an array of living communities and support centers across Nebraska and Iowa. Learn more about Immanuel Communities and its nonprofit mission at

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