Frequently Asked Questions
We are excited to announce that effective July 1, 2019, Abilities United becomes officially affiliated with Gatepath. We know there are a lot of questions about how the new, combined organization will affect you, your child, your family and our community partnerships. We hope our answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) will help provide you with more information on what changes can be expected over the next several months.
Staff from both organizations have been working together to ensure the transition is as smooth and seamless as possible. The most important thing to all of us is to maintain and provide the same high-quality services to the individuals and families our teams serve. We will keep you updated on key elements of the integration of our two organizations as we move through the transition.
Below is some information we hope helps answer some of the questions you may have. We strongly believe that we can better serve our community when we join forces – we are better together!
- Will Abilities United change its name to Gatepath?
- Over the next 6 to 12 months we will explore the appropriate brand identity for the combined organization and we will keep you informed of any potential name or branding changes. There will not be any changes before January 2020.
- How will this change impact staff of both organizations?
- Programs for participants and families will remain the same. Although program staffing will also remain the same, depending on position and circumstances, staff members may have the option to transfer to another location.
- All administrative functions will operate out of Gatepath’s Redwood City office.
- As a result of joining together, we will have 13 locations in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. This will undoubtedly provide new opportunities for staff.
- We are investing in systems and technologies to increase operational efficiencies and streamline administrative processes. This should be a major benefit to everyone.
- The affiliation will allow the combined organization to continue investing in our dedicated staff, with a focus on improving wages, providing supportive employee benefits packages, and providing additional opportunities for staff training and professional development.
- What benefit does this affiliation bring to the individuals and families we serve, as well as the future of the combined organization?
- We will continue to invest in innovative programs, and to offer new programs. For example, Gatepath will explore the opportunity to further expand the Independent Living Skills program to San Mateo County residents, which is a program currently offered by Abilities United.
- As a larger, single organization we have more financial resources to invest in programs that best serve the needs of those in our community.
- We will leverage our combined relationships with major employers to enhance job opportunities for the adults in our job training and placement programs.
- How will this opportunity impact other organizational priorities and goals?
- One important area of focus will be to amplify our shared voice to advocate for the families we serve. Our unified voice will have a greater impact.
- Our immediate focus will be to highlight the need for California to improve funding for intellectual and developmental disability service providers. To sign up for Action Alerts, visit PledgeForInclusion.org.
- Will any programs close for either organization?
- We are committed to continuing services to the local communities where we currently have programs.
- Prior to our affiliation discussions, Abilities United determined they would close or modify several programs (Aquatics, Socialization, and Respite) that were not economically sustainable. Communications about career options have taken place with staff in the affected programs. Many of the staff involved with these programs have been offered opportunities to work in other existing programs. Individuals and families in these programs have been notified of the changes.
- Gatepath is temporarily discontinuing its Gatepath Social Connection Film and Media Arts classes as of July 1, 2019. During the coming year, we plan to redesign the program to meet community needs and interests while improving long-term sustainability. Our target to relaunch the newly designed program is in the first half of 2020.
- Who will be the CEO of the combined organization?
- Bryan Neider, Gatepath’s CEO, will lead the new, combined organization. Click HERE to view his bio.
- Will the website, e-newsletter and social media channels stay the same?
- If you currently receive email or print communications from Abilities United, you will continue to receive materials under the Abilities United name during the integration period of July 2019 to January 2020.
- In early 2020, we will transition to operating one website and one email distribution list. We will merge our social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
- We will provide regular updates and reminders about these changes, so you can stay informed and connected with us.
FOR PARTICIPANTS AND FAMILIES:
- Will those who are currently receiving services from either organization have opportunities for new programming?
- We will explore ways to make all our shared resources available to families and participants. Our desire is to share the best of both organizations and bring new programs to families and individuals we serve. Being larger allows both organizations to share in these investments.
- We will leverage our combined relationships with major employers, enhancing job opportunities for the adults in our job training and placement programs.
- We will consider creating new programs for the seniors that we serve.
- Are the ratios in adult programs the same at both organizations?
- Community and site-based program ratios will remain the same for both organizations.
- What if we have regional center, school district, or insurance funded services?
- For the month of July, you and/or your child’s services will continue to be billed through Abilities United with your current authorization. Gatepath is in network with the same funding organizations as Abilities United and we are currently working to have your services authorized with Gatepath.
- Program participants and parents will receive updated registration packets as we transition to an electronic medical billing system.
- Will my private pay billing change for Milestones Preschool and Children’s Therapy Services?
- In the short-term, your child’s services will continue to be billed through Abilities United. Parents will receive updated registration packets as we transition to an electronic billing system.
FOR BOARD, ADVISORY COUNCIL AND EXECUTIVE TEAMS:
- Will there be changes on the Executive Team?
- Yes, there will likely be new members from Abilities United added to the Gatepath Executive Team.
- Will there be changes to Abilities United and Gatepath Board of Directors and Advisory Council?
- Yes, we will be adding several current Abilities United Board Members to Gatepath’s Board of Directors.
- Some Abilities United Board Members will join Gatepath’s Board Committees and Gatepath’s CEO Advisory Council.
- Sometime after July 1, 2019, the names and bios of Board and Advisory Council members of our combined organization will be posted online HERE.
FOR SUPPORTERS (donors, volunteers, community partners):
- Do both organizations have Auxiliaries?
- The Gatepath Auxiliary has more than 150 members who volunteer their time and provide financial support to further Gatepath’s mission.
- To learn more about the Gatepath Auxiliary, go to https://gatepathauxiliary.org.
- Abilities United does not have an Auxiliary; however, they do have steering committees that host a very successful Authors Luncheon fundraiser each year.
- To learn more about the Abilities United Authors Luncheon, click HERE.
- Will my donation support Gatepath programs or Abilities United programs?
- Donors can always designate their contributions to specific programs or uses.
- After the two organizations officially merge on July 1, 2019, if a donation is not specifically designated, contributions will support our combined programs.
- For tax purposes, please reference the organization name and tax ID number on your donation letter or receipt.
- Where should I mail my donation?
- You can continue to send donations to either location, and we will update you on any future changes.
- Abilities United, 525 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306
- Gatepath, 350 Twin Dolphin Dr., Suite 123, Redwood City, CA 94065
- As an Abilities United volunteer or intern, will I need to re-apply to be a volunteer or intern?
- For Abilities United volunteers and interns, you will continue to have the opportunity to support Abilities United programs. If you have questions, please contact Gatepath Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will contact you if it’s necessary to complete new clearances.
- Who can I contact about ways to support the combined organization through volunteerism, donations, or corporate sponsorship?
- To find out how to get involved with our organization, please email email@example.com.
For additional information or questions, please contact us at BetterTogether@Gatepath.org and one of our staff members will get back to you as soon as possible.