Merger expands substance abuse, mental health programs


    On Nov. 1, 2009, Flint-based nonprofit Insight became part of Hope Network, a Grand Rapids-based Christian nonprofit. Both organizations date back to the mid-1960s.

    Hope Network is known for rehabilitation and developmental disabilities services, while Insight has a long tradition of helping people with substance abuse and mental health problems.

    Insight will operate under the Hope Network brand and be known as Hope Network Insight.

    “This is a great opportunity for both West Michigan and East Michigan to come together,” said Phil Weaver, CEO of Hope Network. “As a state, we need to find ways to do that so we can do things more efficiently at a higher level, with better quality and better outcomes for the people we serve.”

    The merger expands Hope Network’s reach to 180 locations across 50 counties, and will eventually serve 20,000 people. The newly merged organization employs 2,300 people, but after a couple of years, Weaver said more jobs will likely be added. Weaver said the first priority is to align all the “backroom stuff” before the organization looks at growth.

    “I know we’re going to be adding jobs as we move forward over the next 24 months,” he said. “Quite frankly, we’re going to push exceptionally hard for more locations for Insight on the west side of the state, which has no exposure to (Insight) at all right now.”

    The relationship between Insight and Hope Network came when Hope Network leased property from Insight in the Flint area.

    “Because we leased property from them, we had a relationship. That relationship led to some discussion that maybe we can enhance services by working together. That’s really how the discussion began. It was a win-win for both our organizations,” Weaver said.

    “I think we have a greater statewide identity — a larger footprint,” said Weaver.

    “The other thing is, Insight has been affiliated with one area very strongly, and that’s substance abuse. Hope Network is affiliated with not only substance abuse, but mental health, developmental disabilities, rehab services, brain injury and work force development.

    “We can take the substance abuse services that Insight brings into more of our programs, and we can bring some of our behavior health that Hope offers into the Insight locations. The merger becomes seamless. It doesn’t create a lot of waste or issues for either organization. So far, it’s been going better than I could have expected.” HQ

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