The Arc of South Norfolk and Lifeworks
June 30th, 2020 Update
To The Lifeworks & Arc Families,

Over the past year, I have written to you on several occasions, discussing a number of decisions our agencies have made and how these decisions are reflected in the planning and work done as a part of our joint Strategic Plan. I think it is important that I clarify the role of the Strategic Plan, the process that was undertaken and its role in a very important announcement that we will be making today.

Since March of 2019, Lifeworks and The Arc of South Norfolk have worked together in a strategic planning process designed to capitalize on many of the accomplishments of our 2015 plan. These included the closure of the Lifeworks workshops, the launch of our Adult Family Care program in the Arc, the launch of Shared Living in Lifeworks, the establishment of a Human Resources office for each agency, a stronger focus on opening a new program center in Boston and the decision to co-brand a biannual fundraising event, our Lifeworks and Arc Gala.
Back in 1989, our leadership had decided to split our mission and services into two agencies, moving from the agency long-called SNCARC to Lifeworks and The Arc of South Norfolk. Now, over 30 years later, with a tremendous amount of change that has taken place in our communities, our state and our country, we needed to determine if the mission of our agencies was better served staying separate or bringing them back together, as one agency.

The strategic planning process of 2015, the changes that are taking place in the human services field and the challenges identified early on in our data gathering process of 2019 indicated to the Boards of each agency that we needed to tackle one important question. The results of information gathered in our data collection process and through hours of planning, discussion and evaluation with our Board and Senior Leadership indicated one very clear answer.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the Boards of Lifeworks and The Arc of South Norfolk have signed a merger agreement to become one agency, called Lifeworks Arc, under the legal auspices of Lifeworks Inc. This exciting news means that all programs and staff of The Arc will become employees of Lifeworks on the merger’s effective date, October 1, 2020. All employees will retain their current pay, benefits, seniority and responsibilities. With “Arc” a part of our new brand, we will remain a strong member of the Arc, both locally, statewide and nationally.

We have already begun this process, with both agencies now sharing human resource functions, business office functions, maintenance department functions and, of course, our wonderful home at 789 Clapboardtree St. in Westwood.  We will be communicating this major step forward to staff, families and the individuals we serve through a series of online town halls and other interactive opportunities. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunities to learn more about plans moving forward.

A significant decision such as this may come as a surprise to some or a concern to others, but for many this represents the appropriate conclusion to an ongoing process. Many members of our community and our funding sources already viewed us as one agency. A large group of people we serve and their families have received services from both agencies, either as they grew up through our area or currently use the services provided by both. Every one of those services will remain available and now the information and coordination of those services will be more efficient and available. Our Boards thoroughly assessed the potential challenges and opportunities for the future and it was clear that our missions, the people we serve, their families and our staff would be better served with one brand, one mission – and one very clear direction.

I also want to emphasize that this merger is the result of years of study and the timing now is not due to the Covid-19 health crisis in any way. Yet I would be remiss if I did not recognize the silver lining that became even more apparent during the pandemic: the incredible, collaborative working relationship of our two agencies.  This was inspiring to witness and confirmed to me, as the CEO, that this decision is absolutely in the best interests of the agency and the people we support.

The next three months will be busy but exciting. I look forward to speaking with everyone and answering many questions. I thank you for your support and I know that we will all continue to come together in support of our mission.
Thank you and please stay healthy,

Dan Burke

Please watch the following video announcement about this exciting change: