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Transition in works for Family Service

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By Chris Gigley

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Six years ago, to improve services and access to them, and generate efficiencies, the Family Service agencies in Greensboro and High Point merged.

Those goals have been accomplished, says Julie Nile, who is steppingn down as president and CEO.

Building on the fruits of the merger will be Thomas Bonney, who becomes president and CEO of Family Service of the Piedmont on Sept. 6.

Bonney is relocating to the Triad from southern New Jersey, where he has served as chief operating officer for the Family Service Association since 1996.

The association operates with a slightly larger budget than Family Service of the Piedmont, and offers its community a larger variety of services.

Bonney says growing the Triad agency’s services will a top priority.

In addition to improving the quality and access to services in the Piedmont, says Nile, key goals of the merger were to increase opportunities for negotiating grants and contracts, and to maximize the return on investments in resources, such as technology and personnel.

Each goal, she says, has been fulfilled.

“It’s a tangible ending for me,” she says. “It’s one chapter of the agency closing.”

The next chapter must address state government’s attempt to privatize public services, a process Bonney dealt with in New Jersey.

“My goal is to make our services more customer-friendly,” he says, “and privatization is just one small way Family Service of the Piedmont can offer better service to the community.”

The agency provides 24 programs and services.

In addition to credit counseling and services addressing domestic abuse, about half of the agency’s focus is on individuals and families with significant mental health problems.

That may be an area for growth as state government contracts out public services, Bonney says.

“The reality is there are people in most families who have significant mental-health problems, such as substance-abuse problems,” he says. “Serving those needs makes us a one-stop resource for the community.”

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