The Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan, which had closed its doors in mid-June, is planning to re-open later this week.
According to former executive director Kimberli Cumming, the first priority will be to resume services to existing clients. The center provides affordable personal counseling, job coaching and divorce support, among other services.
On June 12, the board of the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit emailed a message to supporters announcing that the center would be closed. From the email: ”The loss of grant support for the types of services we offer has led the Board of The Women’s Center to decide to close the doors. Although our women-focused approach and support for emotional and economic well-being are unique and very much needed in this region, the economic reality of our current grant funding – and future prospects – make it impossible to continue operations.” The email stated that the board would be working with the center’s academic partners “to ensure that clients will continue to receive uninterrupted counseling services through the interns that they have been seeing at The Women’s Center.” [.pdf of June 12 email]
Board members at the time included: Cindy Straub, Claire Hogikyan, Sarah Williams, Lori Bestervelt, Elise Buggs, Jennifer Cornell, Sharon Ragland-Keys, and Jackie Jenkins.
Since the announcement, supporters have been working to figure out a way to fund and resume services. As of the afternoon of July 1, that June 12 message was still posted on the center’s website. Cumming indicated that more details will be posted on the website soon, as well as on the center’s Facebook page.
Cumming, who earlier this year took a job as director of executive transition services & associate teams with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon, emailed this statement to The Chronicle:
The Board and long-standing supporters have been working with client services staff on a transition plan with a new a new business model that balances earned-revenue now possible from the ACA with an ongoing commitment to those not covered by insurance. The newly constituted Board will include two Board leaders who will continue on, its (now-former) clinical staff, The Center’s founding Board Chair, and its long-term executive director [Cumming]. The team supporting the re-launch includes devoted volunteers representing clinical/client-services expertise, business planning, and philanthropy.
The Women’s Center was founded in 1977 as a nonprofit called Soundings: A Center for Women. It later merged with other nonprofits and became HelpSource, then in 2000 restructured to form The Women’s Center of America. In 2006, the nonprofit was renamed The Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan to reflect a regional focus. Then in 2011, the center honored Jean Ledwith King’s advocacy for gender equity by becoming The Jean Ledwith King Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan.