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September 20, 2020
 
Two Mass. Nonprofit Human Services Providers to Merge
Doctor Franklin Perkins School + RFK Corp

September 10, 2020 — Two nonprofit human services providers, the Doctor Franklin Perkins School in Lancaster and Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps in Boston, this week announced they will merge, enabling them to serve nearly 2,000 children, youth, and adults annually through day, residential, and community-based programs.

Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps will become an affiliate to the Doctor Franklin Perkins School, with a full merger planned for the near future. Michael W. Ames, Perkins’ president and CEO, will lead both organizations.

The Perkins School is a 125-year-old multi-service organization providing day and residential education for youth with developmental, learning, behavioral and other challenges, day and residential programming for adults with intellectual and developmental challenges, as well as mental health and other services for children, youth and families.

RFK Children’s Action Corps is a leader in child welfare and juvenile justice, providing residential and community-based programs for youth and families from across Massachusetts, and also provides training and technical assistance nationally and internationally.

Suzanne Frisch, chair of the Perkins board, said, “Together, our strengths can affect an even greater impact. To quote the words of the late Robert F. Kennedy, ‘All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.’

"Perkins and RFK Children’s Action Corps both recognized the challenge and the opportunity in this difficult year and made this happen, and I am so proud and grateful to be a part of it.”

RFK Children’s Action Corps’ board chair Jim Geraghty added, “At a time when so many human services providers are pursuing strategic alliances and mergers to sharpen their effectiveness, we’re delighted that we’ve found the ideal partner in Perkins to carry forward RFK Children’s Action Corps’ legacy of unwavering responsibility to some of the most vulnerable children and families and to building a more just society for all.”

Suzanne Frisch, Chair of the Perkins Board, said, “Together, our strengths can affect an even greater impact. To quote the words of the late Robert F. Kennedy, ‘All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.’ Perkins and RFK Children’s Action Corps both recognized the challenge and the opportunity in this difficult year and made this happen, and I am so proud and grateful to be a part of it.”

RFK Children’s Action Corps’ board chairman Jim Geraghty added, “At a time when so many human services providers are pursuing strategic alliances and mergers to sharpen their effectiveness, we’re delighted that we’ve found the ideal partner in Perkins to carry forward RFK Children’s Action Corps’ legacy of unwavering responsibility to some of the most vulnerable children and families and to building a more just society for all.”

Ames said the merger will "create an organization that will build on each of our distinctive strengths, enhancing our collective impact for decades to come in promoting meaningful and sustained well-being for the children, youth, and adults we serve.”

RFK Children’s Action Corps operates 10 programs for at-risk youth and families, including community-based initiatives in Boston, Holyoke, and Springfield; residential treatment centers in Lancaster, Middleton, South Hadley, and South Yarmouth; schools in Lancaster and Springfield; the Bright Futures Adoption Center; the National Youth Project using Minibikes; and the RFK National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice.

Perkins’ roots date to the 1896 founding of a school for children with special needs in Newton that moved to Lancaster in 1924. Perkins has steadily broadened and diversified its services at its Lancaster campus and adult facilities in Lancaster and neighboring Clinton, with a focus on personalized instruction and therapies that build individuals’ strengths and competencies for academic and social success.

Tammy Mello, Executive Director of the Children’s League of Massachusetts, a statewide nonprofit association of more than 80 private and public organizations and individuals, said, “What really resonates for me is how both organizations are steeped in a legacy of meeting the needs of kids and families who have not had access to the supports all children deserve for their social and emotional well-being and education. That’s where I see this as a perfect marriage.”

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