It was just over a year ago when David Rivel, chief executive of the Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services, got a call that would shape the future of his organization.
An official with New York state’s office of mental health reached him at home on a Sunday with an urgent request: Could the Jewish Board immediately take on $75 million in social-services programs serving thousands of the state’s neediest? The call was followed up the next day by an identical one from the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
What led to the phone calls—and the Jewish Board’s decision to say yes—was the sudden closure of another New York nonprofit, Federation Employment & Guidance Service. Better known as FEGS, it was one of the largest social-services agencies in the state, providing everything from substance-abuse treatment to mental-health clinics and job training.
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