United Ministries, GAIHN unite to expand efforts to address poverty and promote self-sufficiency in Greenville

GREENVILLE—After years of partnering to assist those in need in Greenville, United Ministries and the Greenville Area Interfaith Hospitality Network are making plans to join together by merging into one organization, creating greater capacity to serve those striving to achieve financial stability and self-sufficiency.

The boards of both nonprofits are pleased to announce that they have voted to proceed with the merger and have signed a letter of intent. The merger is expected to be effected on July 1.

United Ministries and GAIHN complement each other in both their mission and programming. United Ministries, which has been working in the Greenville community for more than 45 years, provides life changing opportunities and advocacy for those who are in financial crisis, lack education or employment skills or who are homeless.

United Ministries was founded in 1970 by the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. The organization recently received the highest possible four-star rating from Charity Navigator. GAIHN assists local congregations to share hospitality in the form of emergency shelter, meals and short-term housing with homeless families that include children. They also work with clients to achieve self-sufficiency.

“The work of United Ministries and GAIHN shares many similarities,” said GAIHN Executive Director Tony McDade. “We both assist and equip those who need a ‘hand up’ to become independent and productive members of our community. By joining together, community resources that support our organizations will be maximized and utilized more efficiently. As a result, more people will benefit from our services and we will be better positioned to expand our programs.”

The planned merger is not focused on cost savings, although these are expected, emphasized McDade. The uniting of the two organizations is centered on growing the capabilities and reach of GAIHN and United Ministries. Operating as one organization will allow for enhanced program integration and increased accessibility for clients.

“We believe that joining these two strong agencies will create an entity that is uniquely positioned to serve as a leading organization on issues related to poverty and homelessness in Greenville,” explained Alan Marshall, chair of the board for United Ministries. “We want to play a key role in facilitating collaboration among all stakeholders who are working on these issues so that together we can identify and tackle community-wide goals.”

“When the organizations come together, GAIHN will continue as before, but as a part of United Ministries,” said McDade. “We are particularly excited about the opportunity to closely share information that will enable us to track participants’ progress toward their goals of gaining financial stability and becoming self-sufficient.”

According to United Ministries’ Interim Executive Director Ethan Friddle, board and staff members from both agencies have been working with consultants since last fall to carefully consider and explore the possibility of merging. A grant from the United Way of Greenville County provided the resources to enable both organizations to complete initial due diligence prior to the joining of the agencies and fund other merger-related costs. The Community Foundation of Greenville has also supported the agencies’ efforts to collaborate.

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