African American Family Services Chair, Kim Collins, said “our role as board members of this legacy organization is to ensure that we strengthen AAFS’s ability to have a greater impact in the lives of the individuals, families and the greater community it serves. As we look at options for further expanding the impact of AAFS, the solution must allow us to maintain our core values, which are grounded in cultural specificity; enhance and strengthen our connection to the African American community; and build upon the recent vision and focus of our current executive director.”
Richard Gardell, 180 Degrees, Inc., President/CEO said “as an organization we have served multi ethnic and culturally specific communities for the past 40 years. We recognize that both organizations are engaged in strategic initiatives that could be better executed by collaboration and partnering.”
“Our combined experiences demonstrate that we can improve client services by partnering in our delivery systems and streamlining administrative functions,” he said.
“We are initiating a process that will build on both organizations’ strengths and create a structure that thrives and insures the ability to provide improved services to our community and clients in the near and long term future,” Gardell said.
In a statement to the press the organizations indicated a formal process will begin immediately between the Executive Directors of both 180 Degrees and AAFS and teams appointed by both boards.
African American Family Services (AAFS) is a non-profit organization that has been serving the Twin Cities for 38 years. AAFS works with individuals, families and communities affected by addiction and mental illness.
Using a holistic approach, we provide culturally-specific chemical and mental health service that impact family preservation and promote community-based change and wellness.
180 Degrees, was incorporated in 1971 and opened its halfway house for adults in 1973. This residential program focuses on the transitional needs of ex-offenders who are in the process of re-entering the community. In 2001, 180 Degrees began providing an array of programs and services for adolescents and young adults involved with or at risk of involvement with the criminal justice system in Ramsey County and in parts Washington and Dakota counties. Since then, 180 has expanded beyond the metro area and now offers residential and culturally competent mental health services to youth in three cities.
African American Family Services and 180 Degrees, Inc. leaders say they envision opportunities to provide a more holistic culturally competent service delivery continuum by combining their resources.