Cincinnati Enquirer: CYC and JCG strategically unite to better serve children and youth
Two of greater Cincinnati's leading youth support organizations, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and Jobs For Cincinnati Graduates are merging in order to better serve the youth they work with.
Leaders of both groups said the merger, announced Wednesday and effective July 1, will help the non-profit groups expand to serve another 500 students.
CYC offers mentoring, college access and other services to students. Jobs for Cincinnati Graduates provides dropout recovery and prevention programs.
The agencies both have a proven track record of success, measured by graduation rates, college success and testimonials by hundreds of students, several of whom spoke during the announcement on Wednesday.
They decided that they could fulfill their common missions of helping students succeed more effectively by joining forces.
“We’ve compared notes and learned we have a lot in common,” said Kent Wellington, board chair for both organizations. “We hope this is ushering in a new era of collaboration in this region.”
The merger will create efficiency because one group won’t be duplicating the work of the other. Merging will also help the groups save money by streamlining finances and technology. It also may also help the group leverage funding to hire more staff to work with kids.
“It’s about leveraging talent,” said John Pepper, CYC founder and retired Procter and Gamble Chairman and CEO. “To provide a good future we need to provide every bit of support a young person needs. If we don’t do that we’ve been failing.”
The timing coincides with the retirement of the CEO of Jobs for Cincinnati Grads, Barbara Seibel. She will stay on as a consultant during the transition. Cincinnati Youth Collaborative President and CEO Jane Keller will head the new organization, which will be re-named in July. The groups plan to move into a common space at some point.
The merger comes at a time when there is a national focus on school reform and making sure students are prepared for college and careers. Ohio’s dropout rate has been rising and graduation rates throughout the region are expected to plummet next year as the state revamps its calculations to make them more accurate.
Experts say a key component to improving student success rate is through good teaching and community partnerships. Collaboration is a big buzz word in Cincinnati lately. The city was recently chosen to host a national education convention focused on collaboration between districts, teachers unions and community groups. CYC and JCG member said they expect other non-profit mergers will follow as groups realize they can do more by together than alone.
Combined the groups will serve more than 3,500 youth in Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Members from both boards will comprise the board of the new organization. It will have 65 staff members and revenues exceeding $4 million.
The merger is expected to be mostly invisible to students, although they will ultimately benefit from better services and a single point of contact.
The goal is to produce more students like Ashleigh Dubois, Whitney Hollingsworth and Darryl Long, all of whom spoke at the announcement.
Dubois, a Miami University senior and 2009 Aiken High School graduate said she couldn’t have made it through college without the help of the CYC programs. Hollingsworth, who just graduated from Western Hills Engineering high school said her work as president of her school’s JCG helped her come out of her shell and inspired her to pursue motivational speaking in addition to a computer science career. Long, who just graduated from Hughes high school attributes his passion for community service and his success in school to the support and help his CYC mentor Donald Swain has provided over the years. “He took an interest in me,” said Long, who met Swain in sixth grade. “He’s almost like a family member now.”
Jessica Brown, Cincinnati Enquirer