Formal merger of social services nonprofits could happen by July 2021.

Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit (JFS), JVS Human Services and Kadima Mental Health Services have formally voted to begin analyzing a potential merger into one single agency, following nearly two years of conversations between the Jewish Detroit social service nonprofits.

The three agencies formally announced on Thursday, Dec. 3 that all three of their Board of Directors/Trustees had voted to move forward with plans to evaluate the operational, financial and legal due diligence of the merger. The vote took place before Thanksgiving.

Evaluation is expected to be completed in Spring 2021, with the actual merger taking place July 1, 2021, if approved. A merger plan is supported by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, which is a partner organization to JFS and JVS.

It is not yet known what the proposed merged entity would be called, who would lead it, or how mission and staffing at the three agencies would be affected. Currently the three agencies offer a combined 125 services, ranging from career counseling to aging services to legal aid and assistance for adults with mental health disorders.

Combined, the three groups have nearly $40 million in assets, according to their most recent reported IRS filings ($18.7 million from JVS, $13 million from JFS and $7.9 million from Kadima).

All three organization heads are expected to speak to press later today to discuss the merger plans, but issued statements in support of the steps being taken.

Perry Ohren, CEO of JFS, noted in the press release that “a merger is not guaranteed,” but added that, by working together, the organizations hope to “empower the people we serve and address their acute needs.”

“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,” said Paul Blatt, President and CEO of JVS Human Services, in the release.

“Our organizations have a long history of collaboration,” Eric Adelman, Executive Director of Kadima, said in the release. “A merger would help us achieve maximum impact for the people we serve through strategically coordinated vocational, mental health, residential and other assistance.”

Leadership of the agencies had previously acknowledged to the JN that the three groups have overlapping missions.

JVS, headquartered in Southfield with four offices across Metro Detroit, was founded in 1941 and provides counseling, training and social services to area families with a focus on women, people with disabilities and seniors.

JFS, located in West Bloomfield and Oak Park, was founded in 1928 and serves groups including seniors, people struggling with mental health and Russian immigrants. It provides services including domestic abuse intervention, suicide prevention, Kosher Meals on Wheels and elder care.

Kadima, based in Southfield, was established in 1984 by Rabbi Shlomo Gruskin and provides mental health services to the Metro Detroit community.

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