Two nonprofits serving the homeless community in Heartside have merged.
After a two-year shared services agreement that combined operational functions, Heartside Ministry and Mel Trotter Ministries have taken the next step in their partnership by formally merging.
The merger of agency assets became official Jan. 1. Both boards approved a formal merger at their December 2019 meetings.
No services or jobs are affected by the merger.
Reducing operating costs, eliminating potential duplication of services and creating a greater impact for the populations the agencies both serve were the driving forces for the merger, according to organization officials. The two organizations also were pursuing the same donors and volunteers.
“We have enjoyed a partnership with Mel Trotter Ministries for the past two years and have realized the benefit of combining our teams and services to provide more for the people we serve,” said Gregory Randall, Heartside Ministry executive director.
Starting in 2017, Heartside Ministry engaged Mel Trotter Ministries to share operational functions, including human resources, facilities management and information technology. It was during that time that agency leaders began discussing additional ways to save money while increasing efficiency and outcomes for the people they serve.
As executives from both organizations mentioned the partnership to donors and key stakeholders, it became apparent that the idea of collaborating resonated in the community. The notion of formally merging was discussed by each organization’s board of directors for more than a year, followed by in-depth talks between Randall and Mel Trotter CEO Dennis Van Kampen.
“We will be better stewards of the talent and treasures given to us and grow in ways that perhaps wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” Van Kampen said.
Randall and Van Kampen estimate it will take most of 2020 to sort out the best approach to combining all of the services offered by Heartside and Mel Trotter.
Heartside Ministry will retain its name and current location at 54 South Division Ave., though executives anticipate the eventual move of Heartside Ministry staff and programs to Mel Trotter’s headquarters, at 225 Commerce Ave. SW, in an effort to reduce operational expenses in maintaining two locations.
Communicating this news to the marginalized populations of Heartside will be the immediate focus for the combined entity.
“We want to ensure continuity of services for our neighbors and guests, so we will not be making any immediate, bold changes with regard to the kinds of services we provide or how we provide them,” said Randall, who intends to continue in his role as executive director of Heartside Ministry’s services.
“We know that this news might be confusing and perhaps overwhelming to those we serve, so we want to take a measured approach and provide the best care we can for our neighbors.”