Non-Traditional Solutions for Community Challenges
By Maggie Elder
Vice President, Community Impact
Metro United Way has a strategic goal that states: Through 2018, Metro United Way sustains a quality, compassionate network of services to address current human needs.
We know that sustaining a quality, compassionate network of services to address human needs takes more than allocating annual funding. We also know that we can’t meet the growing need for funding on our own. So, we have to think about what we can do. We have to think about non-traditional solutions.
On September 2nd, we announced that the Arcadia Community Center was merging with the YMCA of Greater Louisville.
The merger of Arcadia and YMCA was a non-traditional solution. Arcadia approached us knowing they could not sustain themselves as a stand-alone organization. They also recognized they had important work – and results! – for a population with limited services tailored to them (refugees and immigrants). We recognized that the population of refugees and immigrants was growing and our community needed to grow our capacity to provide them services. We dreamed of Arcadia joining with a well established, better resourced organization that could serve Arcadia’s current clients and meet the growing need.
Metro United Way introduced Arcadia to several organizations. Arcadia’s Executive Director and Board leadership met with them and looked for the best fit. YMCA turned out to be that fit. Metro United way also provided two one-time grants totaling $50,000 in order to support the transition and merger.
So…. Arcadia lives on in a different form. The clients they serve will be provided services for at least two more years (YMCA’s minimum commitment) and the community has grown our capacity to serve immigrants and refugees. Metro United Way has learned what it takes for a small organization on the brink of closure to live on in some form.
If we hope to maintain a quality, compassionate network of services we’ll have to continue finding ways to build our community capacity to meet the growing need.
[Editor's Note - stay tuned for a follow-up post from Jennifer Hurley, Arcadia Program Director, to hear more about this transition for her point of view.]