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September 14, 2015 - 12:59pm

The Arc of Orleans and Genesee ARC vote to unify

posted by Billie Owens in ARC.

Press release:

With unanimous votes by The Arc of Orleans and Genesee ARC boards of directors, plans are moving ahead to unify the two agencies that are chapters of NYSARC, Inc., the largest disability service provider of its kind in the nation.

Donna Saskowski, longtime executive director of the Genesee Chapter, has also been overseeing the Orleans Chapter since April.

“For months we have been meeting to discuss how we can collaborate and share services,” Saskowski said. “This was the next logical step."

Orleans President John Huber calls this a progressive move noting unification will expand opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in both counties.

”Our new dream is to adapt to the changing horizon while providing expanded services to the people we serve,” Huber said.

Genesee Chapter President Candie Pocock echoed Huber’s comments, “What’s important for families, staff and individuals in both Chapters to understand, is that programs and services will continue in each county, and now have the opportunity to grow.”

Each board recognizes the similarities between their respective counties.

“We are rural, neighboring, agricultural communities, roughly the same size in area and among New York’s smallest in terms of population,” Saskowski said. “Looking ahead, we feel our similar cultures will allow for a smooth transition."

In a joint statement the chapters’ executive boards addressed finances as they had been asked if the unification was being pursued due to current financial needs. According to the statement, “We are choosing to unify in order to effectively address the financial challenges resulting from current NYS Medicaid transformational reform initiatives."

NYSARC, Inc., the nonprofit organization that oversees the Genesee and Orleans chapters, will monitor and guide the voluntary unification process, which should be completed in 2016.

Genesee ARC was founded in 1966 and will be marking its 50th Anniversary next year. The Arc of Orleans was founded in 1970 and is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. Combined, the agencies serve more than 1,200 individuals with developmental or other intellectual disabilities and their families.

Of the Boards’ decision to unify Saskowski said, “This is a strong statement in support of the people we serve and all of our staff. The Orleans and Genesee chapters have nearly 100 years of experience serving people with disabilities in our two counties; this vast experience will position us well going forward."

Questions? Please feel free to contact Sandy Konfederath, coordinator of Community Relations for Genesee ARC, at (585) 343-4203 or e-mail at [email protected] or Darlene Golson at [email protected].

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