CEO News July 2020

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In CEO News

Dear friends,

It has been a very busy “behind the scenes” few months for myself and the Board of MACS.  I communicated with many of you briefly on 28 June through the weekly residential communications email that we would like to let you know that the Boards of MACS and Diversitat have agreed in principle to a proposed merger.  A number of you are probably aware of Diversitat but for those of you that aren’t I encourage you to look at their website.

There are still a number of steps to go through before the merger is confirmed.  These steps will take a number of months. With over 70 years of service between the two organisations, we share values including diversity, dignity, respect, integrity and empowerment of members of multicultural communities living in and around Geelong. It is expected in the medium term that the proposed merger will lead to greater local employment opportunities, as well as better outcomes for the people we serve.  By combining, we can create a stronger voice for multicultural communities and people living in and around Geelong.

Over recent months, both the MACS and Diversitat Boards have undertaken a confidential process of ‘due diligence’. In these discussions, they have considered our vision, purpose and values. At all times, the primary focus of both Boards has been caring for the multicultural community of Geelong.

We have much in common. While MACS has a focus on aged care, Diversitat has a range of programs, including a registered training office, aged care support, refugee and settlement programs, youth programs, financial counselling, Pulse Radio Station and social enterprises. We also note Pako Festa, a wonderful celebration of multiculturalism held each year in March is organised by Diversitat.  Diversitat also has over 400 Volunteers that give their time to range of programs.

In fact, the proposed merger is a reminder of how MACS commenced. In the 1980’s, the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council undertook a survey which led to the establishment of the Geelong Multicultural Hostel in 1994. It was necessary to set up a separate entity at the time so that we could obtain a charitable status.

What are the next steps?

The Boards have now agreed in-principle to the proposed merger.

If the merger is to be confirmed, it will need to be supported by the MACS Board and the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council (which trades under the name Diversitat).

The Geelong Ethnic Communities Council represents 31 affiliated communities. Each community has two representatives on the Council. At least 75% of the 62 members would need to vote in favour of the merger.

For MACS our Directors are our members and it will be a resolution from the Board that will ratify the merger.

Over the next few months, further work needs to occur to finalise the process. This will include discussions on the;

  • legal entity that needs to be set up
  • proposed organisational structure
  • appointment process for the CEO of the new entity

The Boards expect that they will be able to make their final decision on the proposed merger by 1 October this year. To assist the Boards with their deliberations, we have established a Proposed Merger Steering Committee. The members of this committee will include Directors from the 2 Boards, the Acting CEO of Diversitat and myself, plus some external consultants who specialise in human resources, marketing and communications.

We will also appoint a Project Officer for at least 3 months, to assist the Steering Committee. This external contract will be announced shortly.

Everyone involved though is committed to leading and managing this change process in a way that is consistent with our organisational values, behaviours and principles.  Even if the merger is confirmed by 1 October, it will take some time to transition to the new entity and structure.

So for now it is business as usual at MACS, we continue to closely monitor the emotional well-being of our Home Care Consumers and Residents during this very difficult time.  The continuing spike of COVID-19 cases in Victoria is of concern and we have a dedicated team of staff working hard to provide care and services.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me on joyl@macs.org.au with any concerns suggestions or comments you may have in relation to anything I have raised in this letter to you.

Kind Regards and keep washing those hands!!

Joy

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