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Rainbow Health Initiative (RHI) and the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) are joining forces! The Boards of Directors of MAP and RHI have voted to combine organizations to create a new and unique Minnesota nonprofit dedicated to the health of LGBTQIA communities and communities affected by HIV. 

 

The newly combined board has appointed Linda A. Ewing, MAP’s current CEO, as chief executive officer of the merged organization. The new entity will retain Minnesota AIDS Project’s nonprofit information including EIN and IRS nonprofit determination. RHI will be joining MAP at their location at 2577 Territorial Road in St. Paul, starting in late October.  

Why are RHI and MAP merging?

1) Joining forces will create healthier communities. By combining the robust research, analytic skill and education capability of Rainbow Health Initiative with the client-centered service capacity and expertise of the Minnesota AIDS Project, we are embarking on a plan that can immediately impact LGBTQIA communities and communities affected by HIV, and provide greatly expanded health and wellbeing benefits long into the future.

2) Our organizations are stronger together. A successful merger between two independent organizations frequently depends on the strength, stability and experience of the parties involved.  Our merger is not a rescue mission.  It is not intended to recover from failure, either financial or operational.  It is rather based on the opportunities and synergy that our respective Boards of Directors visualize in the combination. 

3) Our organizations complement each other. MAP is highly skilled at creating an impact on individuals’ lives. RHI is highly skilled at creating transformational change within institutions. Together, we can have a lasting change on both individuals and institutions which has implications for a) improved health for people living with HIV and members of LGBTQIA communities, and b) the reduction of HIV stigma and anti-LGBTQIA bias in individuals and institutions.

What effect will the merger have on existing programs and services?

In the short term, there will be a positive effect on programs and services. No reductions in services or staff are planned as part of the combining of our two organizations. However, there will be growth in some programs and the creation of new services.

The short term will include: 1) Comprehensive human services and essential resources for LGBTQIA communities and communities affected by HIV; 2) Robust research, education and advocacy; 3) A dedicated mental health clinic for LGBTQIA communities and communities affected by HIV. 

By providing these resources with compassion, confidentiality, and non–discrimination, we seek to improve the lives of LGBTQIA people and those living with HIV across the state of Minnesota.

For the longer term, (potentially 2-3 years and beyond) we visualize an operationally successful and financially sustainable nonprofit enterprise that is: a) Capable of serving an even broader client base by building new programs and initiatives; and, b) A highly attractive candidate to enter partnerships with established major healthcare providers (For example, Allina Health, HealthPartners, Fairview Health, etc.) to improve the health of our communities.  These partnerships or business alliances could prove to be a vital, innovative new resource for medical, lifelong wellness and mental health services for LGBTQIA individuals, addressing existing disparities and materially improving healthcare equity.  

What are the plans for the mental health clinic?

Our planned mental health clinic will be a highly visible and innovative component of the new, merged enterprise. Established under Minnesota’s Revised Mental Health Outpatient Rule (Rule 47), our clinic will provide LGBTQIA people and people living with HIV with an array of mental health services.  These services will include comprehensive, integrative health; sexual health; and, chemical health services.  Licensed mental health practitioners will provide services from a trauma-informed, attachment-based, risk reduction, sex-positive perspective promoting the health and wellbeing of our clients while also celebrating the diversity of our community.

What is happening and when?

The new organization won’t be legal until the fiscal years for RHI and MAP end on Dec. 31, 2017. The new organization will debut on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. 

Between now and then, we will begin the process of building that new organization. RHI staff will be joining MAP on-site in October.

What is the new name?

KNOCK, Inc., a Minneapolis-based creative agency is graciously donating its time and talent to help the new organization develop name, logo, and branding with thoughtful input from the communities we serve. A new name for the combined organization will be announced at the beginning of January. 

Questions about the merger?

Media requests can be directed to Heidi Johnson, RHI Marketing and Communications Manager, at heidi.johnson@rainbowhealth.org.

Questions relating to RHI contracts, grants, and services can be directed to Joann Usher, Executive Director, at joann.usher@rainbowhealth.org