Stronger and Better Together

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North Side Pregnancy Options merges with Abria Pregnancy Resources 

In August of 2016, the leadership of North Side Pregnancy Options in North Minneapolis approached Lisa Schmitz and Nancy Utoft about collaboration. They liked Abria’s incorporation of life coaching and professional counseling, and the education outreach to teenagers and college students through the outreach program LifeEdge Solutions. They also liked Abria’s approach with women and the professionalism of the model.

“Our vision is to be Abria North Side,” they said.

Schmitz and Utoft were intrigued because North Side has more than 30 years of experience in prenatal care, an important medical service that Abria staff and board had already planned to add in the near term as a part of Abria’s five-year strategic plan.

It seemed like something worth exploring since both organizations brought something unique and important to the table and could be equal partners.

In late 2016, the Abria board commissioned a task force to conduct a thorough due diligence process and feasibility study for partnership with North Side, up to and including merger of the two organizations. The task force, which included representatives from both organizations, met and analyzed data for several months in early 2017.

The team ultimately recommended a full merger, with the combined organization operating under the name Abria Pregnancy Resources and continuing to operate both the St. Paul and North Minneapolis locations.  The recommendation was approved unanimously by each board in late March and early April of 2017, respectively. 

“One of the most compelling aspects of the merger is that, together, our combined organization will be stronger as we join ranks, share resources, and expand services and outreach at both locations” said Utoft.

Effective July 1, 2017, the organizations now operate under the leadership of one board of directors and one executive director and associate director, but retain two highly strategic and important locations. 

Both locations will retain the important focus on the communities each serves, ensuring that what is unique to each community continues to be respected and supported. In fact, outreach and engagement in each community served by the two locations can be expected to grow.

Merger implementation will begin over the summer and is expected to be complete by spring 2018. 

From a supporter perspective, one of the first and most noticeable aspects of the integration will be the combined banquet in the fall, which will be held on Friday, October 27 at the downtown Minneapolis Hilton.

“It is a natural next step to combine our fundraising activities and events, and that will start with the Celebration Banquet this fall,” said Sarah Mealey, Abria board member and chair of development and marketing. 

“We hope to have our best and most enjoyable banquet event ever as we bring together the North Side and Abria families of supporters. It will be quite a celebration!”

A deeper look at the merger will be covered in the fall edition of Friends for Life and Abria eNews in early September. 

First published on June 5th 2017