CLASS intends to merge with LifeLinks, a human services agency headquartered in Chelmsford, Mass. LifeLinks is a private, nonprofit human service agency and Arc affiliate that provides services and supports for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities – very similar to CLASS. For more information about LifeLinks, see www.LifeLinksinc.org and read about their organization, founded in 1954.
We consider this a “merger of equals,” as each agency brings tremendous strengths to the table. As a merged agency we will provide enhanced program delivery and function as a “one-stop shop” for individuals and their families, our fiscal health will be bolstered, our service offerings will expand, and our internal resources will be better aligned with the current, changing environment of human services.
CLASS and LifeLinks have been planning and engaged in a process of due diligence for this merger for well over a year. The two agencies intend to merge as of July 1, 2019. Until then, we will complete state requirements and carry out the technical steps of combining the agencies’ internal systems such as communications, financials and technology. The process brings together two large organizations, therefore careful planning and execution is essential.
The new agency initially will be called CLASS (LifeLinks Inc./dba CLASS, Inc.) and the plan is to completely rebrand the organization within 18 months of the merger to reflect the mission and spirit of the new, combined organization. Once the merger is complete, the new organization will be led by a combination of CLASS and LifeLinks executives as follows:
- Jean Phelps, Chief Executive Officer
- Al Frugoli, Chief Operating Officer
- Adam Shuster, Chief Financial Officer
- Michael Bloom, Chief Quality Officer
- Rebecca Rausa, Chief HR Officer
Nothing is more important to us than the quality and continuity of care for the loved ones entrusted to our care. Family supports and the days of the individuals we serve will not be affected, not now and not after the merger. After the merger, individuals will ride their same vans to CLASS, be in their same programs, and work with their same dedicated staff in Lawrence and Wilmington.
We will share updates in periodic emails, blog and website posts, and our family newsletters as we consolidate operations and finalize the merger. More information will be available as move into spring. Follow us as CLASS and LifeLinks become one on a path to strengthen the service offerings for families and their loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism.