Jewish Community Services Makes Plans to Assume Switchboard Programs


Jewish Community Services and Switchboard Miami are pleased to announce an agreement to ensure that vital Switchboard Miami services will continue uninterrupted for the people of Miami-Dade County. Switchboard Miami will maintain services through November and anticipates transitioning its 211 Call Center & HELPline and its Family Counseling Services Divisions to Jewish Community Services effective January 1, 2016. The 211 and HELPline phone line numbers will remain the same and the parties are working together to provide a smooth continuation of these vital services that serve more than 143,000 individuals in our community each year. It is anticipated that the majority of Switchboard’s staff will transition with these programs.  A determination of the future of its Youth Development Program serving at-risk youth is as yet to be resolved.

The plan to transition Switchboard services was prompted by a major financial emergency experienced by Switchboard Miami. According to Switchboard Board Chair Christopher Collings “We are grateful that these vital community programs will continue under the auspices of Jewish Community Services, maintaining the legacy of Switchboard of Miami.”

The Miami-Dade Commission recently approved the transfer of Miami-Dade County grants to Jewish Community Services and it is anticipated that the majority of other Switchboard funding agencies would seek similar approvals.

“The many synergies between the programs and missions of our two nonprofit organizations, and the fact that Jewish Community Services already has long-held relationships with all the major funding sources for Switchboard Miami, were all important elements in working together to make a transition of services possible,” said Fred Stock, president and chief executive officer of Jewish Community Services. He emphasized that “Jewish Community Services is committed to the continuation and growth of the programs established by Switchboard to meet the growing social service needs of our community.”

Throughout its history, Switchboard Miami programs have provided information, referral and crisis counseling support 24/7 to individuals in need. Switchboard of Miami has saved thousands of lives through its suicide prevention efforts and is recognized to be both a first point of assistance and a last resource for people in need.

Since 1920, Jewish Community Services of South Florida has remained true to its original mission of providing exemplary social services through compassionate and comprehensive programs that help people stay healthy and productive. By partnering with its funding agencies, sister organizations and local leaders, JCS continuously strengthens and solidifies its outreach and its impact through its three divisions: Adult and Children Youth Services, Adult and Family Services, and Senior Support Services.

 

Questions and Answers about the transition of Switchboard Miami services

Q: Will there be any changes to the 211 and HELPline phone numbers now operated by Switchboard Miami?

A:  No. The numbers will not change and there should not be any interruption of services.

Q: Will any clients go without services?

A: JCS will work with Switchboard’s clients to transition them to Jewish Community Services so they can continue to receive uninterrupted services with the exception of clients enrolled in Switchboard’s  Youth Development. Those clients will be transitioned into other programs. Switchboard serves an estimated 143,000 individuals annually.

Q: What will happen to Switchboard’s employees?

A:  Jewish Community Services is planning to employ the vast majority of Switchboard’s employees in order to continue to these programs uninterrupted.

Q: What about Switchboard employee benefits?

A:  Switchboard employees that transition to Jewish Community Services will be offered the full spectrum of JCS employee benefits.

Q: What about Switchboard offices. Will they remain or be consolidated into Jewish Community Services?

A:  It is anticipated that the Switchboard offices will remain at current locations through the month of November. Jewish Community Services will be evaluating options in the weeks ahead for any consolidation or change of office locations.

Q: What factors led to Switchboard’s financial issues?

A:   Switchboard realized a significant shortfall in budgeted revenue during its 2015-16 fiscal year and despite efforts from the organization’s leadership to work to resolve the financial problems, the shortfall depleted the organization’s financial resources. The budgeted revenue included funding from a major grant that was not received, inability to access Medicaid dollars as projected and a shortfall in fundraising goals. When it became clear Switchboard did not have the operating capital to sustain its programs on a long-term basis, the Board took action to save Switchboard’s vital programs and services.