Two local non-profit organizations plan pending merger

Two local non-profit organizations will merge to enhance the strength and stability of their social service programs.

“We are happy to announce that The Refuge Network, serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault for the past 28 years, and Family Pathways, celebrating its 36th year of providing basic needs, youth and senior services, are uniting as one organization.”

— The Boards of Directors of Family Pathways and The Refuge Network

The Boards of Directors of Family Pathways and The Refuge Network issued a joint statement announcing the pending merger: “We are happy to announce that The Refuge Network, serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault for the past 28 years, and Family Pathways, celebrating its 36th year of providing basic needs, youth and senior services, are uniting as one organization. The decision to merge The Refuge Network with Family Pathways stems from our shared commitment to be good stewards of the resources we are given in order to best meet the community’s needs. Basically the goal is to do good – even better.”

Representatives from the Board of Directors of Family Pathways and The Refuge Network recently met to discuss the final stages of their pending merger. Pictured, in front from left, are Susan Morris and Launa Holen. In back, from left, are Reid Zimmerman, Rev. Doug Larson, Tim MacMillan, Bob Fedderly and Mark Karnowski.

Representatives from the Board of Directors of Family Pathways and The Refuge Network recently met to discuss the final stages of their pending merger. Pictured, in front from left, are Susan Morris and Launa Holen. In back, from left, are Reid Zimmerman, Rev. Doug Larson, Tim MacMillan, Bob Fedderly and Mark Karnowski.

According to Rich Smith, Executive Director of Family Pathways, “Our mission is to work with communities to develop supportive, caring relationships to help people meet their basic needs.  The Refuge Network’s values and services are a good fit with our mission.  By integrating The Refuge Network into Family Pathways, we will strengthen the safety net of basic life services for the entire community from youth to older adults. We are already working together on a number of projects and are confident by officially uniting we will achieve more comprehensive programming and have a greater impact for good for our most vulnerable populations.”

Roxie Karelis, Director for The Refuge, agrees.

“The gained efficiencies of operation, the ability to strengthen effectiveness, spread best practices, expand our reach and be more cost-effective are a win-win. As one agency, our combined resources and staff talent will allow us to be more creative as we strive to meet the continued needs of our communities. Everyone is excited about all the good that will come from the merger.”

The merger is being facilitated by a MAP consultant through a grant from The Greater Twin Cities United Way, and is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.

The Board of Directors of both organizations and staff leadership are involved in the process and agree on the wisdom of merging. Once the merger is complete, Pastor Doug Larson, Tim Mac Millan, and Susan Morris of the Refuge Board will join Brian Anderson, Bob Fedderly, Launa Hollen, Cheryl Johnson, Joe Johnson, Mark Karnowski, Jack Larson, Kathy Lentz, Sherwood McKinnis, John Wheelock and Reid Zimmerman as members of the Family Pathways’ Board of Directors.

Roxie Karelis will join Family Pathways’ leadership team as the Director of Community Services.  In this role, she will assume responsibility for Family Pathways’ Youth Services and Senior Services, as well as continue to oversee The Refuge Network‘s operations, ensuring continuity to clients and staff.

The Refuge Network, as a program of Family Pathways, will continue to be a vital resource for individuals experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault.  Services will continue to include: crisis intervention, information and referral, advocacy, court assistance, hospital and law enforcement response, support groups, community education, mediation and paralegal services, men’s special programming and emergency shelter.

These services cover Isanti, Chisago, and Kanabec counties. All Refuge Network services will remain at their current sites.

Family Pathways is a multi-service organization serving local communities in east central Minnesota and west central Wisconsin. Programing includes: Basic Life Services, comprised of nine food shelves, two food partnerships  and a mobile food unit; Youth Services, which  includes  mentoring programs for at-risk and special-needs teens, a career development program and four teen centers; and, Senior Services, that serve older adults through companionship, advocacy, education and caregiver support.

Family Pathways also operates nine Thrift Stores throughout its service territory. Funds generated from thrift store sales provide 60 percent of the organizations’ revenue and help to ensure all programs are available to clients at no cost.

Family Pathways headquarters is located at 1575 First Ave. East (PO Box 272), Cambridge, MN 55008.

For more information on program services, office locations, volunteer opportunities or to make a financial contribution, visit familypathways.org, or call the Central Office at 763-552-7284.

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