Nonprofits merge in N.County

COAST CITIES — Two nonprofits, Interfaith Community Services headquartered in Escondido, and the Encinitas Community Resource Center, have begun the process to merge agencies to better serve those in need in North County.“Together we will improve and expand services and save overhead costs,” Richard Batt, Interfaith Community Services CEO, said. “Individually we are strong and combined we will be extraordinary.”

The nonprofits provide help with food, housing, social services, employment services, childcare, senior services, veterans’ assistance and domestic violence services.

Prior to the merger the nonprofits had already collaborated on several projects to help those in need become self-reliant.

“The problems and conditions of poverty, homelessness and domestic violence are broad issues,” Laurin Pause, Community Resource Center executive director, said. “This merger will create solutions that are effective both locally and regionally. It deepens the partnership we have already had with ICS.”

“What I see happening is we’ll provide more services for more clients in our footprint,” she added.

Interfaith Community Services brings the strength of having numerous transitional housing facilities and a well-developed veterans service program.

The Community Resource Center stands out in its services to help survivors of domestic violence. The nonprofit helps 225 women and children annually with emergency shelter, transitional housing, support services and case management.

“They leave with the clothes on their back,” Pause said. “They have the will power to move forward and a high success rate, but there needs to be a transitional period. They’re

moving on to start rebuilding their life and not earning a lot of money.”

The Community Resource Center also successfully runs a thrift store that gives those on the road to self-sufficiency work experience while it raises funds for the nonprofit.

Together the agencies hope to better serve North County by sharing their strengths.

“Interfaith’s veterans program is the second largest in San Diego County and has been nationally recognized,” Jason Coker, Interfaith Community Services director of marketing and communications, said. “On the flip side the Community Resource Center has a strong history of programs that serve domestic violence.”

“Both agencies have the same set of values,” he added. “They’ve been around a long time. The match is a good fit. It made sense on every level.”

Both agencies have received approval from their boards of directors to go forward with the merger. Board members will stay on and form a 25-member board that will guide the merged nonprofit.

With the upcoming retirement of Pause in mid-July it seemed a good time for the merger. Batt will serve as CEO of the merged nonprofit. Pause will stay on through the end of the year to help with the merger process that will be completed Dec. 31. This includes gaining state approval and reaching agreements with funders.

Both agencies will keep their names and continue their programs as usual for now. After the merge is completed, and staff and board members are familiar with all services offered, duplicate services will be streamlined and additional satellite services will be added.

As for what the agency will be called, Coker said that by early next year the Community Resource Center would be known as a division of Interfaith Community Services.

Pause added an outside consultant would be hired in the upcoming months to determine if a new name will better serve the merged agencies. The evaluation of a new name will weigh the reactions of the community, those who use services and those who donate to the nonprofits.

“It’s important to take into consideration what motivates the community,” Pause said.

Coker said both nonprofits are doing well financially. He added that the merger would increase funding opportunities and streamlining operations, thus minimizing costs.

“We will join together and be one stronger agency and more competitive for private grants,” Coker said. “We will be more systematic with a broader array of services that fit together well. We will be able to provide wraparound services for clients.”

Cost savings will also come by eliminating the salary of the Community Resource Center executive director and including employees in one payroll system.

Currently the Community Resource Center runs on a $4.2 million annual budget, has 50 employees and serves 11,000 people a year. Pause said that amounts to 2,900 households.

Interfaith Community Services operates on $10.4 million a year, employs 160 people, and serves 25,000 people a year.

Coker said there is no estimate of the number that will be served when the two agencies merge, because duplicate services will be reduced and satellite locations will be added.



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