Jewish Family and Children's Services has stepped in to take over the programs provided by the Center for Building Hope in Lakewood Ranch.
The decision was announced to Jewish Family and Children's Services board members Friday in an email stating that the organization will be preparing to take over some of the direct services offered by the Center for Building Hope.
Sarasota nonprofit JFCS serves the community by maintaining programs for education, counseling, food and financial assistance for Southwest Florida residents in need. Among the services offered by the Center for Building Hope were free therapy and support to cancer patients and their families including family grief support groups, caregiver support groups, exercise and yoga groups.
JFCS President and CEO Rose Chapman's goal is to take over as many of the direct services from the Center for Building Hope and to make the transition seamless for clients relying on the programs. She reached out in August to the organization after hearing of the some problems it was facing.
"I said to myself maybe I should just call the center to see if they need any help. I called and made my offer. They said thank you and I didn’t hear back," Chapman said. "As things progressively deteriorated I called again.
The closing of the Center for Building Hope concludes a month of turmoil for the organization that included firing former CEO Carl Ritter on July 31.
In a recent interview with the East County Observer interim CEO Ron Gelbman expressed efforts to restore financial stability and the reputation for Center for Building Hope.
"I’m not guaranteeing anyone we will work our way out of this mess," Gelbman said. "But I don’t think the end of the story has been written, yet; we’re going to try like hell to make the center go again."
Further details regarding which programs exactly will be continued have yet to be determined. Chapman will be meeting with Center for Building Hope Program Director Andrea Feldmar to discuss how many programs JFCS can take on.
For the next three months JFCS will negotiate with donors and foundations to help offset costs from taking on the additional services until a more permanent solution can be found.
"My most important and number one concern is for the clients being served and for them to not feel that there is a gap," Chapman said. "They’re vulnerable and hurting and they don’t need more difficulties in their lives."