I'm writing today to share exciting news. The Boards of Planned Parenthood of Collier County, Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, and Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida decided last month to merge our organizations into a single affiliate. As of July 1, our unified affiliate will cover 22 counties and operate 12 health centers. Today, we collectively serve 39,000 patients and host 61,000 patient visits annually.
Thriving in the country's rapidly evolving health care landscape requires investment and organizational change. Consolidation of our expertise and talents will enable us to provide higher quality care more efficiently, and to advocate ever more strongly, for women's health in Florida.
The new affiliate will be called Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida (PPSWCF) to reflect our shared geography; it will be headquartered in Sarasota, the most central of our current offices. The leadership and composition of our new Board has been decided. Sandra R. Hughes will be the Board Chair of the new unified affiliate. As Executive Consultant of BoardSource, she has provided governance, strategic planning, resource development, and board training to non-profits throughout the country, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America and other Planned Parenthood affiliates.
The currently seated Chairs of the three affiliates will serve as Vice Chairs of the new unified affiliate. Twenty-seven Board members from the three affiliates will comprise the new affiliate Board of Directors, maintaining local representation, providing governance oversight, and serving as Planned Parenthood ambassadors throughout our region. I will be at the helm as CEO of the new organization..
The legal and governance groundwork for our merger will be in place July 1, 2015, and we will continue to work through operational and administrative details in the following months.
We are committed to making the transition seamless for our patients. The only difference that some will see is a new name for their affiliate.
For those of you involved in our policy and advocacy work, the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates will continue its all-out efforts to protect women's rights to comprehensive reproductive health care in Florida, including access to abortion to the legal limit. Our wider geography will strengthen and amplify our region's voice to counter intensifying challenges to these rights.
Sustaining and indeed strengthening our roots in the communities we serve are front and center in our planning. We will create local councils comprised of dedicated and influential representatives in communities across the affiliate. Your input will be invaluable to finding the best ways to draw on our existing strengths to become an ever more powerful regional health care provider and advocate for women's reproductive health.
Despite the breadth of our current reach, we still have unmet demand in our service area. To fill these gaps and to realize the most from our merger, we will need to invest in integrated business systems, upgrade technology in some centers, and build staff capacity in others.
We hope we can count on your support to make our new, energetic and vibrant organization into the powerhouse our patients and communities need and deserve.
Thank you for your support and commitment to the health of everyone in our region. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have questions.
Barbara A. Zdravecky