2 Charlotte non-profits to merge

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Two Charlotte non-profits are merging and some volunteers and clients said Tuesday that they're worried services will suffer.

Volunteers with Jacob's Ladder Job Center stood outside the center Tuesday morning with signs and said they've heard rumors of a merger with the Urban League of Central Carolinas but were unable to get any answers.

"I think my Jacob's Ladder, which I love dearly, is about to be merged, which I'm afraid means dissolved," Marsha Stickler said.

Client Jacqueline Pate said she worries the center's intimate approach will disappear. It features one-on-one job help and close relationships between volunteers and clients.

"In all honesty, I don't think it's fair," Pate said. "Because if you have something that works, why break it?"

In July, Jacob's Ladder put out a plea for donations, and executive director Holly Cummings said Tuesday that the non-profit has received about $180,000.

But she could not comment on the potential for a merger.

Just an hour later, Eyewitness News reached the president and CEO of the Urban League, Patrick Graham, who confirmed the merger and said an announcement was coming later that afternoon.

Graham said it made financial sense for both non-profits because they offer similar job services.

He said volunteers and clients hadn't been informed yet because the details were being finalized.

"There was no way to communicate that appropriately until we actually spoke to the staff of both agencies," he said.

Graham said Jacob's Ladder will keep its name and the Urban League's work program will combine with it. He said that combination will add training and financial skills and said the services will not suffer.

"So you're saying that that intimate, close, personal feel won't change?" Eyewitness News asked.

"It won't change because we already have it here as well," Graham said.

The merger is expected to be fully implemented by January 2013.

Graham said when it comes to jobs at both non-profits, over the next three months they will work with consultants to figure out how to combine the two programs and if jobs needs to be eliminated or added.