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Two thriving nonprofits become even stronger as one

STOCKTON – Family and Youth Services (FAYS) and the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County have merged to become a new organization, Women’s Center – Youth & Family Services. The merger is the first of its kind in San Joaquin County in more than a decade.

The new agency will draw on almost 80 years of combined experience providing services and shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and homeless and runaway youth. Women’s Center-YFS will have a combined budget of $3.1 million, and a staff of more than 75 providing services at 8 program sites.

Leaders of the two organizations say this union creates a stronger organization with a larger platform, better able to serve the needs of the community. Both agencies work to empower women, children, youth and families, and approximately 80% of the youth served by FAYS have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault, according to outgoing FAYS executive director Linda Mascarenas-Colgan.

“During our months of meetings, negotiations, planning, and hours of intense staff, we all found out that the work done and clients served by these two great organizations are linked even more closely that we had anticipated. This merger will make our community a better and safer place to live,” said Wayne Hose, Vice President of the Women’s Center-YFS Board of Directors and former Stockton Police Chief.

After months of due diligence and negotiations facilitated by an independent consulting firm, La Piana Consulting, the two agencies’ Boards of Directors announced their plans to merge at the Women’s Center’s 32nd Annual Luncheon in March, but the merger didn’t take effect until July 1.

On July 2, the staff and volunteers of the new organization gathered for a celebration and team-building day.

“There is a new energy and excitement, a sharing of resources and many new possibilities, but also the dedication and experience of two seasoned agencies with dynamic staff. It’s really a perfect marriage,” said Joelle Gomez, executive director of Women’s Center-YFS.

Gomez will become the executive director of the new organization as Mascarenas-Colgan retires later this year. Leaders of both organizations expect the transition process to be smooth, as Mascarenas-Colgan, who has been with FAYS for 39 years and executive director for 15 years, had already announced her plans to retire before merger discussions began.

“I am grateful to the boards of both agencies for embracing such a positive and forward thinking concept as this merge. I am confident that the new agency with Joelle Gomez at the helm will provide increased visibility and significantly more support from our community for the youth and families we serve,” said Mascarenas-Colgan.

Family and Youth Services of San Joaquin County (FAYS) draws on 43 years of serving runaway, throwaway and homeless youth, as well as families of troubled youth, families caught in the web of domestic violence, and families overwhelmed by parental responsibilities.

For more than 36 years, the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County has provided free, confidential services and shelter to women, children and men who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as countywide prevention and outreach.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the merger.

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