Merakey Celebrates 50 Years of Exceptional Service. President John F. Kennedy envisioned a future where people with behavioral health challenges and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) were full members of the community. In 1963, President Kennedy signed into law the Community Mental Health Act. The Act provided federal funding for the development of community mental health centers and research facilities across the United States and was a key driver of deinstitutionalization.
As a result of this landmark legislation, a group of concerned mental health professionals operating in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, was awarded funding to construct a community-based behavioral health clinic. In 1969, the Northwest Center became one of three Base Service Units in Philadelphia County that assessed, coordinated, and monitored services for individuals with behavioral health needs. The Northwest Center has undergone several name changes over the past 50 years, but the mission that drove our founding members has remained the same – provide exceptional care and service to our neighbors in need. Fast forward to 2019, Merakey is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as one of the nation’s leading providers of developmental, behavioral health, and special education services. Every day at Merakey, nearly 10,000 skilled professionals serve more than 50,000 individuals and families at over 700 locations in 12 states from coast to coast. Merakey’s continued growth can only be attributed to the incredible work our colleagues do every day. In last year’s annual report, I shared that Merakey means to “put your heart and soul into your work.” Our new name perfectly reflects the passion Merakey employees bring to everything they do.
This year, as part of our 50th anniversary, we are especially excited to recognize long-serving Merakey employees. As we reflect on their contribution to the organization, a common thread runs through them all – a selfless commitment to service. Whether these employees provide direct care or administrative support, their dedication to our mission is truly remarkable to witness.
Throughout this year, Merakey programs have featured a variety of activities that commemorate our 50th Anniversary. On Friday, October 11, every member of the Merakey family “Came Together” to celebrate the past 50 years and the impact we are making on individuals and families in need. Click the following link to check out the photos of everyone having a “groovy” day.
Other examples of how Merakey employees have contributed to our success can be seen in the recognition, accreditations, and certifications our programs receive. The Health Ethics Trust, for example, just renewed our accreditation for another three years. This latest accreditation recognizes Merakey’s uncompromising commitment to quality and compliance. This past spring, the Council on Accreditation recognized our Substance Use Disorder Services with an accreditation of our Methadone Addiction Treatment programs. And, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities has recognized Merakey programs that support adults with autism for enhancing their quality of life. These national certifications and accreditations further validate Merakey’s commitment to be the leading provider of services across the nation.
As the Merakey family celebrates all it has accomplished over the past 50 years, we are also excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Our current strategic plan ends on June 30, 2020, and work is underway on a new plan that will guide us for the next three years. As the tempo of change accelerates in our industry, we see a future focused on meeting the social determinants of health head-on and treating the “whole person” through truly integrated care. The goals established in our current strategic plan have nearly all been achieved. Merakey continues to expand into new states and develop new innovative and evidence-based programs. We continue to implement initiatives that improve the employment experience, such as the recent adoption of Merakey’s first Diversity and Inclusion plan. Innovation is being incorporated into everything we do. And, our talented staff are helping to establish us as national thought leaders in each of the fields in which we work.
As we look forward to the next 50 years, I want to acknowledge the generous support of our contributors, Boards of Directors, families, and friends. Whether you donated financially or volunteered your time at one of our programs or events, your enthusiasm for what we do does not go unrecognized. Please know that my colleagues and I are eternally grateful.
Thank you for your continued support!
Celebrating 50 years of service, Merakey is a leading developmental, behavioral health, and education non-profit provider offering a breadth of integrated services to individuals and communities across the country.
In 1969, Merakey, originally known as The Northwest Center, began providing behavioral health services in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. In recognition of our 50th Anniversary, we hosted our annual Partners in Caring event at the place where it all began. Partners in Caring is an opportunity for staff members from corporate administrative departments to step away from their desks and spend the day helping to beautify Merakey locations.
Enriching lives by providing exceptional services through an individualized approach.
Creating communities where everyone is empowered to take meaningful steps toward reaching their fullest potential.
Joseph S. Martz, Chief Executive Officer
Ted Dallas, President and Chief Operating Officer
Derrick Yacovelli, Chief Financial Officer
Leah Pason, Chief Strategy Officer
Jill Garfinkle Weitz, Esq., General Counsel
Tom Morgan, Chief Information Officer
Brandon Fisher, Senior Vice President of Quality and Compliance and Chief Compliance Officer
Michael Barton, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Behavioral Health Services
Terrence McNelis, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services
Rebecca Haley, Senior Vice President of Human Resources
Trish Pisauro, Vice President of Marketing and Foundation
Trish Fawver, Corporate Vice President of Finance
Simon Whang, Corporate Vice President and Controller
Rich Yanoski, Vice President of Business Development
Rebecca Mann, Vice President of Operations, Education and Autism Services
Malcolm Musgrove, Vice President of Children’s Services
Betty Boyd, Vice President of Program Operations and Development, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services
Sherri Portnoy, Vice President of Administrative and Professional Services, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services
Suzanne Campbell, Vice President of Administration, Behavioral Health Services
Tinnesia Snyder, Vice President of Managed Long-Term Support Services, Behavioral Health Services
Beth Caraccio, Vice President of Organizational Development, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services
Robert N.C. Nix III, Esquire, Chairman, Merakey
President, Pleasant News, Inc.
Joseph S. Martz, Chief Executive Officer, Merakey
Howard Brownstein, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Brownstein Corporation
John J. Egan, Jr., Chairman, Egan Associates, LLC
Tami Fratis, Chief Executive Officer, Phoenician Ventures
Philip E. Hughes, Jr., CPA, Vice Chairman, Keystone Industries
Carol J. Johnson, Independent Director
Maria Frizelle Roberts, Owner, MFR Consultants
Gregory S. Rost, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, University of Pennsylvania
Thomas Saporito, Executive Chairman, RHR International
Diane Sterthous, Venture Capital Advisor, PA Department of Community and Economic Development
David A. Volpe, CFA Deputy CIO and Portfolio Manager, Emerald Advisors and Consultants, Inc.
The Honorable Kelly C. Wall, Judge, Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas
The Honorable M. Joseph Rocks, Chairman Emeritus, Merakey
Michael J. Mitchell, CPA, CPCU, Chairman, Merakey Foundation Board of Directors; Vice Chairman, The Graham Company
Joseph S. Martz, Chief Executive Officer, Merakey
The Honorable M. Joseph Rocks, Chairman Emeritus, Merakey
Joseph E. Besecker, Founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Emerald Asset Management
Raza Bokhari, MD, MBA, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Parkway Clinical Laboratories, Inc.
Malik Brown, MBA, Executive Director, Graduate! Philadelphia
Christopher Dunton, Chief Executive Officer, Lintons Managed Services
John G. Frisch, Owner and President, Higher Information Group
Liz Greco-Rocks, Education Advocate
Christopher M. Harvey, J.D., LL.M, CPA, Managing Member, Harvey Ballard & Bornstein, LLC
Philip E. Hughes, Jr., J.D., CPA, Vice Chairman, Keystone Industries
Kevin B. Kelly, Managing Partner, Jason Roberts, LLC
John Krol, CFP, Partner, Legacy Advisors, LLC
Jerome Mauro, Managing Director, Wilmington Trust
Shola Oguntunde, Partner Advisory Services, Ernst & Young, LLP
Ray Pennacchia, Senior Vice President, NovaCare Rehabilitation
Dorothy Pollon, M.B.A., J.D., Special Needs Child Advocate
Reginald W. Wilkes, Senior Vice President - Wealth Management and Financial Advisor, Janney Montgomery Scott
This year, Merakey opened homes for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in San Marcos, Escondido, and Sacramento, California. Open houses were held this past summer giving neighbors, family members, county officials, and Merakey staff a chance to get to know one another.
Merakey’s Autism Center in Fort Worth, TX hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house earlier this year to feature a newly renovated facility, retrofitted to meet the needs of individuals with autism. The newest Autism Center provides Applied Behavior Analysis, School Services, and Transition Services for students up to the age of 21. Family members, representatives from local school districts, and other providers in the area came out to celebrate and learn about the new Autism Center.
Partnering with the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Merakey began providing Dual Diagnosis Treatment Team (DDTT) services to adolescents in OH diagnosed with a mental health disorder and Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD). Merakey has provided DDTT services to individuals throughout Pennsylvania for almost 10 years, delivering improved quality of care and positive outcomes.
In recognition of World Autism Awareness Month in April, Merakey partnered with Philly Pretzel Factory locations in Delaware County, PA to sell specialty Merakey bracelets and pretzels in the shape of autism ribbons. The month-long campaign raised more than $15,000 for Merakey’s Education and Autism programs, and increased awareness throughout the community. The fundraising campaign, initiated by the Merakey Foundation Junior Board, was a huge success. Merakey thanks Philly Pretzel Factory franchise owner Gary Nolan and his team for everything they did to support Merakey programs.
Click here to check out images from the event on Flickr.
Heather, an individual receiving services at Merakey Parkside Recovery, bravely shared her personal story at an open house for Merakey’s new recovery and outpatient substance use disorder clinic at Temple Health – Episcopal Campus in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Heather shared that support, resources, and guidance from the clinicians at Merakey Parkside Recovery have helped her stay sober for almost a year and a half. Kensington has been identified as “ground zero” for the opioid epidemic in Philadelphia. Together, Merakey and Temple Health – Episcopal Campus, have more than 200 years of experience serving Philadelphia. We look forward to sharing the impact of this important new partnership.
In February, individuals and staff from Merakey Allegheny Valley School visited the office of Guardian Protection Services for the 4th Annual Partners in Kindness event. Individuals showed their appreciation for the Guardian employees who have delivered holiday gifts to the individuals supported by Merakey AVS for more than 20 years. Guardian employees and guests from Merakey AVS were encouraged to wear purple in honor of the company's “Guardian Cares: The Power of Purple” initiative.
Thomasina Justice, winner of the 2018 Self-Advocate of the Year Award by Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR) has been working at The Graham Company in Philadelphia, Merakey’s insurance and risk management partner, since May 2018. In less than a year, Thomasina has proven herself to be a valuable asset and outstanding member of their workforce.
The Merakey Foundation honored Thomasina at the 16th Annual Leading the Way Awards Gala and awarded her with the Fran Egan Courage Award for all of her accomplishments.
Earlier this year, Liz and Megan from Merakey Allegheny Valley School visited with Representative Anita Kulik (District 45) in Coraopolis, PA. During their visit, they spoke about the need for experienced, consistent, and high-quality Direct Support Professionals to assist individuals with a range of disabilities. We are grateful to Representative Kulik and other government officials who advocate for the incredibly important role that Direct Support Professionals play in the lives of the individuals we serve.
This past summer, A&E’s groundbreaking docuseries “The Employables” followed the lives of job seekers with autism, Tourette Syndrome, and other disorders as they worked to overcome obstacles and find fulfilling employment. Angela, a young woman with Tourette Syndrome applied for a position at Merakey in Western PA, where her experience living with a disorder proved invaluable to her success.
Check out A&E's website to watch this very special episode.
Because we know that stable employment is among the key indicators of success for persons with substance use disorder, this year, Merakey Parkside Recovery launched a “Recovery Through Work” program in partnership with Philadelphia Works and PA CareerLink. The program is 8-weeks long and prepares participants to find, obtain, and keep employment in their field of interest.
The Merakey Foundation has a lot to be thankful for this year because of contributors like you who make real differences in the lives of those served at Merakey. Your contributions continue to allow the Foundation to be the safety net for many programs where funding falls short.
Last year, we welcomed the first Junior Board of Directors to enhance our fundraising efforts with new and innovative ideas. The Foundation Board is grateful for all that the Junior Board has accomplished in the past year to raise awareness and funds for Merakey programs. I am pleased to announce that the Junior Board started Fiscal Year 2020 with a few familiar faces and some new ones. Click here to learn more about our new Junior Board of Directors.
In addition to celebrating the 50th anniversary this year, the Foundation hosted events to raise critical funds for Merakey programs. The 15th Annual Leading the Way Awards Gala was held at Vie in Philadelphia, a new venue for us that not only served incredible food, but also gave guests a renewed sense of energy and excitement. In March, bowling alleys in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Delaware and Louisiana hosted the Foundation’s 5th Annual Bowling Tournament. This event brings the organization together from across the country to enhance our employee experience and to raise money for multiple programs. We also held our first full fundraising event in Louisiana – a Wine Walk at the beautiful Magnolia Mound Plantation in Baton Rouge, LA. Finally, our expanded grant program and application process resulted in an expansion of Foundation assistance to our programs.
We continue to be encouraged by your dedication, compassion and partnership to help over 50,000 consumers and their families throughout the Merakey continuum of care, all of whom have been invaluably affected by your selflessness. Your support is vital for us to provide exceptional services to some of the most vulnerable individuals in our communities. To learn more about the Foundation’s initiatives, projects the Foundation supports, and additional giving opportunities, please visit the Foundation page on the Merakey website, or contact the Foundation office at 610-260-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for putting your heart and soul into supporting the Foundation and the individuals in Merakey’s care.
More than 850 individuals and staff from Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities programs across Southeastern Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware had the time of their lives at “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” themed galas on April 24 and May 8. Attendees were excited to have their pictures taken, dance to their favorite songs, and enjoy a delicious meal.
Check out our Flickr albums (Philadelphia and East Norriton locations) and local media clips to experience the magic of both evenings.
The 5th Annual Community Health Fair at Merakey Delaware County, held in October 2018, included free health screenings, healthy foods, and more than 45 vendors that provided literature on positive lifestyle tips, resources, and giveaway items to attendees. There was also a yoga instructor, a massage therapist, and fun fall-themed activities for kids. Life Tree Pharmacy provided free flu shots to guests. The Sharon Hill facility provides an integrated care model, where individuals have the ability to see a primary care physician, a psychiatrist and a therapist in one location. Attendees of the Health Fair walked away with information on how to improve their overall health, both physical and mental. As the shift towards holistic care changes the way healthcare is provided, Merakey is ready to support those who need the care the most.
Merakey Children’s Reach hosted its 8th annual holiday party for children and their families on December 15, 2018 at its North Philadelphia facility. Nearly 400 children and their families attended the celebration that included gifts, face painting and refreshments. Kids were especially excited to see Santa Claus, and to pose for pictures with the jolly man in the red suit!
The 14th Annual Goals for Giving Hockey Tournament was held earlier this year to benefit Merakey programs and special events. Players from the Philadelphia Flyers’ alumni and Team Merakey, event sponsors, supporters, Merakey staff, individuals served at Merakey and others joined together to raise more than $67,000. The compassion displayed by everyone at Foundation events, such as this one, makes a significant and positive impact on the individuals and families served at Merakey.
Check highlights from the event on 6ABC Action News!
Bowling alleys in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Delaware and Louisiana were filled with hundreds of Merakey employees, individuals served, supporters, and friends for the Merakey Foundation’s 5th Annual Bowling Tournament March of this year. This special event brings the organization together as a way to enhance the employment experience and to raise money for Merakey programs. The event was a huge success, raising more than $90,000 for the Foundation and Merakey programs!
Check out ABC27's website for coverage on the event and our Flickr album to see pictures!