Three metro Detroit nonprofit organizations say they are moving forward with the operational, financial, and legal due diligence process as they explore a possible 2021 merger.
The three include JVS Human Services and Kadima Mental Health Services in Southfield, and Jewish Family Service in West Bloomfield Township, who combined serve the most vulnerable people in the community.
“By integrating the services and expertise of our three organizations, we would offer a holistic, seamless continuum of integrated services to individuals, instead of delivering services in silos,” says Paul Blatt, president and CEO of JVS Human Services. “We would be uniquely positioned to lead Michigan’s human service sector and expand programs to support the Jewish community as well as the diverse population of southeast Michigan.”
The boards of directors and trustees for all three organizations approved the move just prior to Thanksgiving. The due diligence process is expected to be completed by spring 2021, with a further vote by all three organizations’ boards at that time. If approved, a merger could take place as early as July 1, 2021.
“Our aim, in exploring this merger, is to reinforce the help we provide to Detroiters and their families, strengthen their lives, and provide resources and services needed to meet life’s challenges,” says Eric Adelman, executive director of Kadima. “Our organizations have a long history of collaboration. A merger would help us achieve maximum impact for the people we serve through strategically coordinated vocational, mental health, residential, and other assistance.”
The merger plan was first explored in March 2019 and supported by Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. There are currently 125 combined services offered by the three agencies including career counselling and job placement for job seekers with obstacles to employment, day programs for adults living with dementia, counselling for families in crisis, legal help, assisting adults living with mental health disorders, helping older adults to age in place, and more. There are no plans for reducing programs, although it is envisioned that the merger would allow for programs to be upgraded, updated, and strengthened.
The three organizations currently are investing in three autonomous infrastructures. A merger would enable duplicate functions – such as electronic health records, human resource information systems, development databases, and other expenses – to be scaled back. Those resources then could be invested in other functions and expanded programming.
“It is important to remember that many factors may influence the outcome of the due diligence process, and a merger is not guaranteed,” explains Perry Ohren, CEO of Jewish Family Service. “However, we take this next step with anticipation that, working together, we will empower the people we serve and address their acute needs, as well as the underlying social determinants of health that are the root causes of illness, poverty, and stigma in our community.”