Two organizations serving a growing number of people with disabilities and with deep roots on opposite sides of the Ohio River have joined forces in yet another significant merger of Greater Cincinnati nonprofits.
Easterseals and Redwood used National Disability Independence Day on July 26, which commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to publicly announce their merger.
To be known as Easterseals Redwood, the organizations said they will be able to better meet the needs of the growing number of individuals with disabilities, veterans, and those facing economic challenges in both Northern Kentucky and southwest Ohio together than separate.
“Easterseals and Redwood have been working tirelessly with our boards to ensure that this combination will benefit not only our clients and employees, but also the community for years to come,” said Pam Green, CEO of Easterseals. “Our ability to work collectively is a unique opportunity for two strong local organizations to combine into a more sustainable agency with comprehensive, high-quality services.”
Easterseals advances 100% equity, access and workforce inclusion for people with disabilities, those facing disadvantages and veterans. Redwood grows abilities through educational, therapeutic and vocational services for children and adults with severe and multiple disabilities. Together, the combined organization will serve more than 7,000 individuals and families in southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.
“Both agencies were founded by families and for families,” said Sharon Fusco, CEO of Redwood. “We have a vision of creating a better future for adults and children with disabilities and those with economic disadvantages. This combination gives us a stronger voice to advocate for the essential services needed by clients, in part, by eliminating the barrier of state lines. Together, we are better able to respond to outside forces impacting disability services providers. It also allows us to better attract and retain top talent for our clients.”
As the needs of people with disabilities continue to evolve and the number of those in need continues to grow, the timing was right to form Easterseals Redwood.
“As the world changes for people with disabilities and economic disadvantages, it provides added challenges for those providers that serve them,” said Jim Salters, who will serve as chair of the Easterseals Redwood board. “This new unified organization allows two separate agencies with shared objectives to combine resources and continue the quality care clients have come to expect, while looking ahead to a future of expanded services and programs.”
The families and clients that Easterseals and Redwood serve are also excited for the new capabilities this combination brings.
“We lived in Ohio, but there were no services there to meet the needs of our daughter,” said Kris Jones, the parent of a Redwood client and a member of its board. “We moved to Kentucky so that she could have access to the programs and services she needed. As a board member, I’m excited about Easterseals Redwood and its ability to bridge the two states and leverage the resources of both organizations so that families don’t have to move to receive the services their loved one needs to grow and succeed.”
The combination goes into effect Aug. 1. Green will serve as the CEO of Easterseals Redwood, and Fusco will retain CEO status of Redwood through the end of the year, focusing on strategic planning and execution throughout the transition period. Beginning in 2023, Redwood’s management team will report to Green. The boards of the two organizations will be combined.
Day-to-day operations will continue uninterrupted with clients receiving the same services they are used to, with the same staff and in their current locations.