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FAQs: The United Methodist Children’s Home Sale of Campus

THE UNITED METHODIST CHILDREN’S HOME SALE OF CAMPUS – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What is The United Methodist Children’s Home? What does The Children’s Home do?

The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) works every day toward its mission ‘to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.’ Since 1973, UMCH has cared for over 6,000 children in safe and loving foster-care homes; it provides safe housing for at-risk young adults and prepares them to make positive life decisions and become productive, independent, citizens; and it strengthens and preserves at-risk families through safe housing and support services. Today UMCH serves over 240 children and adults per day in 40 counties across North Georgia, and it delivered over 56,000 days of care in 2016.  For more information visit www.umchildrenshome.org.

 

Why did you sell?

There is a child welfare crisis in our state. 13,000 kids are in the state’s custody. 150 kids sleep in hotel rooms with strangers each month due to a lack of foster homes. UMCH turns away 40 kids a week. All of these situations that kids face call upon us to do more. Knowing these facts, the UMCH Board voted in January to release assets tied to the property by selling its Decatur campus. This decision will help us reach more children and families in need. Funds from the sale will be used to open new offices across North Georgia, and more effectively take all four of our programs to many more children and families in communities across our state.

 

Who is the buyer?

City of Decatur (CoD)

 

What price paid?

The sale price is $40 million

 

Were there other offers? (or) Why did you sell to the City? (or) Why didn’t you list the property?

The property was never listed. Though several other parties expressed interest, the only offer received was from the City of Decatur (CoD). And we believe that the City’s offer is ideal for our mission, given the combination of their market-rate purchase price, their commitment to honor our history by preserving the chapel and founder’s burial, as well as naming campus administration building for our longtime CEO, and their responsibility to consider the public’s interests as they decide how to use the land.

 

Are you closing?

UMCH is not closing. Rather, we are expanding our services to better reach children and families who are in great need across North Georgia. We maintain our commitment to have a presence and offer services in metropolitan Atlanta.

 

Where are residents going?

Current UMCH residents will enjoy continuous and uninterrupted services provided by UMCH. Current residents will relocate to safe and appropriate housing primarily in DeKalb and Fulton counties; and they will be actively involved in helping plan this process.

 

How will the money be used?

The proceeds from the sale will be used to serve more children and families who face trauma and seek restoration. And it will be used so we can expand our ministries into communities we are not serving today, such as Augusta, Rome, Dalton, LaGrange, Griffin, and other areas. Proceeds from the sale will serve all of our ministries…our Foster Care ministry, our Family Housing ministry, and our Independent Living and Transitional Living ministries, in metro Atlanta, and in new communities as well.

 

What will happen to the Decatur campus?

The sale includes preservation of the sacred, historic Moore Chapel, and the gravesite of UMCH’s founder, Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring. The sale also creates a preservation covenant honoring the unparalleled tenure of Bev Cochran, former CEO of  The Children’s Home, who led the ministry for 43 years, from 1968 to 2012. The City of Decatur and The Children’s Home agreed to name the existing administration building at 500 South Columbia Drive – which will remain in use by the City – in memory of Cochran, touching the lives of thousands of UMCH alumni, their children and grandchildren. The City of Decatur will, of course, determine plans for the remainder of the property. 

 

What about the history on that property?

We care deeply about our 143 years of history on our Decatur campus. The lives of countless children were changed by the loving staff and volunteers who worked here over the decades. That love will continue, and will expand across North Georgia. The City is fully supporting our desire to preserve the chapel and the founder’s burial site as a way to honor our history. We are very pleased with the City’s unwavering commitment to that. Honoring our longtime CEO by naming the administration building in his memory is another nice gesture.

 

What will happen to the [trees, lake, lawns, buildings, etc.] on campus?

CoD will decide the future of the property’s existing structures and natural resources.

 

Who can I call with my [question, concern, complaint, idea, etc.]?

Feel free to please call the UMCH information line 404-327-5867

 

Press Release: The United Methodist Children’s Home Agrees to Sell Campus to City of Decatur; Funds from $40 Million Sale Will Serve More Children and Families in Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                                                                

April 17, 2017 at 8:30 p.m. ET

 

CONTACT:

John P. Cerniglia, Vice President, Development

jcerniglia@umchildrenshome.org

404.327.5838 office

770.710.7663 mobile

 

The United Methodist Children’s Home Agrees to Sell Campus to City of Decatur; Funds from $40 Million Sale Will Serve More Children and Families in Crisis

 

Decatur, Ga. – (April 17, 2017) – Responding to the growing needs of the children and families it serves, on April  12 the Board of Trustees of The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) agreed to sell the ministry’s 77 acre campus to the City of Decatur.

 

The Decatur City Commission approved the purchase at their April 17, 2017, Commission meeting held earlier this evening at Decatur City Hall. Proceeds of the sale – priced at $40 million – will help UMCH reach more children and families in crisis in new communities across North Georgia.

 

The sale terms include preservation of the historic Moore Chapel and the gravesite of UMCH’s founder Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring.

 

The sale also creates a preservation covenant honoring the unparalleled tenure of Bev Cochran, former CEO of UMCH, who led the ministry for 43 years, from 1968 to 2012. The City of Decatur and The Children’s Home agreed to name the existing administration building at 500 South Columbia Drive – which will remain in use by the City – in memory of Cochran, touching the lives of thousands of UMCH alumni, their children and grandchildren.

 

The City of Decatur will determine and announce its plans for the remainder of the property and its existing buildings and resources.

 

Rev. Hal Jones, The Children’s Home President and CEO, put the sale decision into perspective.

 

“Funds from the sale will help The United Methodist Children’s Home to greatly expand local, community-based ministries in towns and cities across North Georgia, in partnership with many more churches,” said Jones. “Since January, when the Board voted for approval of a sale, I continue to be energized by the decision which embraces the changing landscape in providing services to children and families while empowering UMCH to deliver on, and continuously improve, its important mission.

 

“We are grateful for the City of Decatur’s collaboration with us to preserve our historic Moore Chapel, which will offer our alumni, and others with strong ties to UMCH, a permanent place to celebrate and honor our history,” added Jones. “The determination of our UMCH Board, UMCH leadership team, and the City of Decatur leadership moved in harmony with voices of alumni, partners and neighbors, all of whom expressed commitment to preserving the great legacy symbolized by the Chapel.”

 

City of Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett said the City of Decatur is uniquely positioned to be the trustee of this resource and the purchase provides a long-term legacy for generations to come.

 

“The purchase of this property fits with the City’s mission, vision and values and is an investment for current and future families and children,” said Garrett. “The City of Decatur will conduct a community-based master planning effort for the future use of the property once the sale is final and the city has possession of the property.“

 

It is anticipated that the sale will be closed and final in the summer, with the UMCH vacating by late summer or early fall 2017.

 

UMCH currently houses approximately 80 individuals on campus who are a part of the Family Housing and Independent Living programs. UMCH is committed to providing uninterrupted services and continued support to its residents and will work with them on relocations based on individual needs. In general, current and future residents will move from group home cottages on the campus to more modern, safe and appropriate housing primarily in DeKalb and Fulton counties.

 

 

Sale funds important mission in perpetuity

 

Some of the proceeds may be used to help with UMCH’s relocation plans, with all of the proceeds ultimately set to serve more children and families across North Georgia.

 

Most of the proceeds from the land sale will be invested in UMCH’s endowment. The endowment is managed by a professional fund manager, which the Board oversees.

 

The proceeds from the sale will be used to serve more children and families who face trauma and seek restoration. And the funds will be used so UMCH may expand its ministries into communities not currently served, such as Augusta, Rome, Dalton, LaGrange, Griffin, and other areas.

 

Proceeds from the sale will also help expand all existing ministries including Foster Care, Family Housing, Independent Living and Transitional Living, in metro Atlanta, and in new communities as well.

 

A brief overview of how the proceeds from the sale will serve more people includes:

 

  1. The City of Decatur pays UMCH $40 million
  2. UMCH invests approximately $30 million in its endowment, with the balance spent on costs associated with the preserving the chapel, the sale, leasehold improvements for residential housing and offices across north Georgia, and relocation
  3. $1.5 million is earned in the marketplace annually from the $30 million invested, which is a five percent return on investment
  4. The $1.5 million is used to bring all four of UMCH’s ministries to communities where people need assistance, such as Augusta, Rome, Dalton, LaGrange, Griffin, and other areas. At least 60 more people are served annually, every year in perpetuity, as a result of the sale.
  5. UMCH’s impact grows from 240 people served daily, today, to over 300 a day after the sale, relocation and expansion are all completed

 

 Informed by research, sale decision made with precedent

 

The Jan. 17 UMCH decision and April 12 sale confirmation was informed by precedent. The organization’s DeKalb property originally featured 226 acres, but over the years and in response to evolving needs, 149 acres were sold as the focus of the ministry changed.

 

During 2016, UMCH leadership embarked on thoughtful research and consideration of how and where the organization might expand its ability to deliver on the organization’s mission and to keep up with, or anticipate, the times in which the organization now operates and ministers.

 

The Board’s decision to sell is the result of careful evaluation of many options, and their decision will set a course for an exciting future while increasing UMCH’s ability to achieve its mission – to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.

 

 

Unlocking resources while facing an endless challenge

 

This decision to sell unlocks the capital needed to reach more children and families in crisis. Sample estimates indicate funds from the sale will help to greatly expand local, community-based ministries in towns and cities across North Georgia, in partnership with many more churches.

 

Though initial projections reviewed by the board, UMCH estimates the organization will serve approximately 63 more people every year, in perpetuity, as a result of the decision. UMCH has pledged its firm commitment to provide high-quality, uninterrupted service to all its clients, including those living on its campus today.

 

Currently, there are 13,000 Georgia children who have been separated from their families, and who are in State custody due to neglect, abuse or abandonment; this is a number that has doubled over the last five years.

 

Every week, when called on by the State, UMCH must currently turn away 30 children who need a loving foster home, because of limited resources. And each week families at risk of homelessness are turned away for the same reason.

 

“The sale greatly enhances our ability to address these challenges and reach more children and families in need,” said Jones.

 

UMCH staff will continue to work at the current campus until employee needs are determined and new spaces are selected in anticipation of the City of Decatur receiving ownership. UMCH will select office space in many of the communities it serves across North Georgia.

 

 

Preserving a legacy more than 145 years in the making

 

The UMCH Board is committed to honoring the organization’s historic legacy of service, and as such the group continuously explores new and more effective ways to bring needed resources to children and families in need. It was in that spirit that the decision to sell took place.

 

The decision honors the legacy of The United Methodist Children’s Home in two ways. First, it applies resources to the greatest need – to serve children and families; and second, the decision includes an aim by the Board to retain a small parcel of the DeKalb property to honor the historic home.

 

“The Board’s vote to sell in January, and the sale announced today, each were critical steps on a journey forward,” said Jones. “We will continue working collaboratively with all of those who have embraced our mission, and have partnered with us in accomplishing it.”

 

“I am intensely proud and humbled by UMCH’s history, the impact of our current work and ministry, and the enormously positive effect this decision will have on so many more people in our future,” said Jones. “Too many organizations tend to balk when the values they espouse are tested. Our Board did not hesitate when presented with the opportunity to operationalize our values of agility, embracing change and continuous improvement, and loving people.”

 

 

Donations and volunteers still needed; popular flea market open in July

 

Jones added that the need for financial donations are needed now more than ever as there is a continuous need to serve thousands of children and families. Those interested should please donate online at www.umchildrenshome.org or continue to mail donations to 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, Ga., 30030.

 

“The sale of our land does not reduce the urgency of assisting people in need,” said Jones.

 

UMCH is committed to its longstanding partnership with its Auxiliary – the team of 200 faithful volunteers who operate the flea market – and UMCH will work closely with the Auxiliary to find a suitable location for us to continue to operate the flea market sales for years to come.

 

UMCH continues to need volunteers, especially for its growing foster care ministry. For volunteer opportunities and details, anyone interested should please visit the UMCH’s volunteer pages online at www.umchildrenshome.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/.

 

The UMCH encourages anyone interested to share ideas or questions by calling 404-327-5867. Additional information is available at www.umchildrenshome.org or www.decaturga.com.

 

About The United Methodist Children’s Home

 

The United Methodist Children’s Home was established in 1871 in Norcross, Ga., to care for children orphaned during the Civil War, and has evolved to serve children and families in a ‘continuum of care’ model. It envisions a world where ‘all children are raised in a loving, compassionate and nurturing home.’ And it works every day toward its mission ‘to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.’ Since 1973, UMCH has cared for over 6,000 children in safe and loving foster-care homes; it provides safe housing for at-risk young adults and prepares them to make positive life decisions and become productive, independent, citizens; and it strengthens and preserves at-risk families through safe housing and support services. Today, UMCH serves over 240 children and adults a day in 40 counties across North Georgia, and it delivered over 56,000 days of care in 2016.  For more information visit www.umchildrenshome.org.

 

# # #

2016: A Year of Great Impacts

At The United Methodist Children’s Home, we envision a world where every child is raised in a loving, compassionate, and nurturing home.  With your generous support in 2016, we came so much closer to achieving that goal.  Whether you are a volunteer, donor, foster parent, or simply helped spread the word of our work, we are grateful!

 

2016 Impacts Web Graphic

 

 

Join us in 2017 and together, we can help even more children and families in need.
Foster Your family can provide that loving home that thousands of kids long for. Take advantage of the joy that comes from fostering through the Children’s Home. We will support you every step of the way.

 

Volunteer You have talents and compassion. The Children’s Home has meaningful ways for you to make a difference.

 

Give Consider becoming a monthly sustainer, ensuring the Children’s Home can grow to serve more kids in crisis. Check out creative ways to give including asset-based gifts and in-kind gifts.

 

 

Press Release: The United Methodist Children’s Home Board of Trustees Decides to Serve More Children and Families in Crisis; Votes to Sell Organization’s Decatur Campus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 17, 2017 at 7 p.m. ET

 

CONTACT:

John P. Cerniglia, Vice President, Development

jcerniglia@childrenshome.org

404.327.5867  office

 

 

The United Methodist Children’s Home Board of Trustees Decides to Serve More Children and Families in Crisis; Votes to Sell Organization’s Decatur Campus

 

Decatur, Ga. – Responding to the growing needs of the children and families it serves, on Jan. 17 the Board of Trustees of The United Methodist Children’s Home made the decision to expand and accelerate its impact across North Georgia by voting with overwhelming approval to sell its Decatur property.

 

Rev. Hal Jones, the UMCH President and CEO, put the decision into perspective.

 

“We appreciate the UMCH Board’s thoughtful consideration of multiple options regarding the future of The United Methodist Children’s Home campus in Decatur,” said Jones.  “I am energized by our Board’s decision, which embraces the changing landscape in providing services to children and families while empowering UMCH to deliver on, and continuously improve its important mission.”

 

An informed process; a decision made with precedent

 

The Jan. 17 UMCH decision was informed by precedent. The organization’s DeKalb property originally featured 226 acres, but over the years and in response to evolving needs, 149 acres were sold as the focus of the ministry changed.

 

During recent months, UMCH leadership embarked on thoughtful research and consideration of how and where the organization might expand its ability to deliver on the organization’s mission and to keep up with, or anticipate, the times in which the organization now operates and ministers.

 

The Board’s decision is the result of careful evaluation of many options, and their decision will set a course for an exciting future while increasing UMCH’s ability to achieve its mission – to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.

 

Unlocking resources while facing an endless challenge

 

This decision will unlock the capital needed to reach more children and families in crisis. Sample estimates indicate funds from the sale will help to greatly expand local, community-based ministries in towns and cities across North Georgia, in partnership with many more churches.

 

Though initial projections reviewed by the board, UMCH estimates the organization will serve approximately 63 more people every year, in perpetuity, as a result of the decision. UMCH has pledged its firm commitment to provide high-quality, uninterrupted service to all its clients, including those living on its campus.

 

Currently, there are 13,000 Georgia children who have been separated from their families, and who are in State custody due to neglect, abuse or abandonment; this is a number that has doubled over the last five years.

 

Every week, when called on by the State, UMCH must currently turn away 30 children who need a loving foster home, because of limited resources. And each week families at risk of homelessness are turned away for the same reason.

 

“The decision will help optimize our ability to address these challenges and reach more children and families in need,” said Jones.

 

Preserving a legacy more than 140 years in the making

 

The UMCH Board is committed to honoring the organization’s historic legacy of service, and as such the group continuously explores new and more effective ways to bring needed resources to children and families in need. It was in that spirit that the vote reached its result.

 

The decision honors the legacy of the United Methodist Children’s Home in two ways. First, it applies resources to the greatest need – to serve children and families; and second, the decision includes an aim by the Board to retain a small parcel of the DeKalb property to honor the historic home of the UMCH.

 

“As we look to the future with our residents, alumni, staff, neighbors and others in the community, there are, no doubt,  a lot of questions that still need to be answered,” said Jones. “The Board’s vote was just one step on a journey forward, and we will continue working collaboratively with all of those who have embraced our mission, and have partnered with us in accomplishing it.”

 

“No specific buyer or plan exists for property to be sold or retained, and we look forward to collectively shaping the future of land that has been enjoyed and valued by so many in our community,” added Jones.

 

“I could not be more proud of UMCH’s history, the impact of our current work and ministry, and the enormously positive effect this decision will have on so many more people in our future,” said Jones. “Too many organizations tend to balk when the values they espouse are tested, and our Board didn’t hesitate when faced with the opportunity to operationalize our values of agility, embracing change and continuous improvement, and loving people.”

 

No specific timeline for the sale is in place. The UMCH encourages anyone interested to share ideas or questions by calling 404-327-5867. Additional information is available at www.umchildrenshome.org.

 

 

 

About The United Methodist Children’s Home:

 

The United Methodist Children’s Home was established in 1871 in Norcross to care for children orphaned during the Civil War, and has evolved to serve children and families in a ‘continuum of care’ mode. It envisions a world where ‘all children are raised in a loving, compassionate and nurturing home.’ And it works every day toward its mission ‘to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.’ Since 1973, UMCH has cared for over 6,000 children in safe and loving foster-care homes; it provides safe housing for at-risk young adults and prepares them to make positive life decisions and become productive, independent, citizens; and it strengthens and preserves at-risk families through safe housing and support services. Today, UMCH serves over 245 children and adults a day in 40 counties across North Georgia, and it delivered over 56,000 days of care in 2016.  For more information visit www.umchildrenshome.org.

 

# # #

 

UMCH Family Housing: Holiday Inspiration From the Gibson and Hector Families

Photography courtesy of John Haugaard

Meet the Gibson Family

 

“We couldn’t have imaged this holiday season being as happy as it is.”

 

Mr. and Mrs. Gibson and their three young children – two girls and a boy, could never have imagined this Christmas would turn out like it has. When they knew they needed a little help, the Gibsons did their research and found themselves welcomed at The United Methodist Children’s Home Family Housing program.

 

“We have the most amazing yard where the kids feel free to play,” said Mrs. Gibson.

 

Not only are the Gibsons thankful for having a safe place to stay at The Children’s Home, they have graciously been able to take advantage of other supports and services as well.

 

“The Christmas shopping event hosted on Dec. 10 was a real God-send,” said Mrs. Gibson. “They provided more than I could have dreamed of, not to mention entertainment for the kids and visits with Santa. And – I couldn’t believe it – our case manager even found an American Girl doll for our daughter!”

 

Since they’ve moved in, the Gibsons have been very busy with the monthly life skills workshops provided as a part the Family Housing program. They have been able to work with their case manager, Brooke Babbitt, to improve their credit and pay off past debts that hindered them from being able to obtain housing on their own. Additionally, the Family Housing program has provided the Gibsons with the opportunity to develop a budget and begin saving money for when they are ready to transition into independent housing.

 

“It is an honor for me to work with our families and just a delight to see them grow, succeed, and then to become independent once again,” said Babbitt. “Their successes are our successes.”

 

While working towards their goals, the Gibsons have attended social activities UMCH provides its families as well. They attended Fam Fest in October, and a Hawks basketball game courtesy of the team. “We have learned so much, but are also getting to spend time together and having fun as a family,” Mrs. Gibson added.

 

Mr. Gibson is simply grateful that The Children’s Home has made their lives. Better than it was, in his own words. “We’ve gone through some hardship this year, and couldn’t have imaged this holiday season being as happy as it is.”

 

The Gibsons, this holiday season, would like everyone to know that “this program really is such a great support and wonderful opportunity to give you the time and the breather to get back on your feet, and feel comfortable while you’re doing it.”

 

We at The Children’s Home cannot express how grateful we are to be able to support families like the Gibsons. There’s no better time than now to give to The Children’s Home, when our end-of-year matching campaign will double your gift. Please go online to help families like the Gibsons transform their lives. Your gift this holiday season will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $96,750 through Dec. 31.

 

 

Meet The Hector Family

 

“Being here is my Christmas gift.”

 

The United Methodist Children’s Home welcomed Precious Hector and her three daughters, ages 6, 9, and 12, to its Family Housing program early December.

 

“My grandmother always said that women are the first iteration of God that our children know,” says Ms. Hector. “Everything we say, breathe, create — they learn from us. I teach my daughters how important it is to pray and have a strong relationship with God. And what I have instilled in them, they have given back to me.”

 

The faith that surrounds them has already been the greatest gift Ms. Hector has given to her children, as well as what they return to her. “There are times when I may get a little down and troubled about a situation, and it’s one of my daughters that reassures me with, ‘Oh mom, we’re going to be alright. God loves you.”

 

Though the family only moved to The Children’s Home on December 1, Ms. Hector has jumped right in to the support services offered through the Family Housing program. She’s already developed a budget and financial plan to improve her credit with her case manager, Brooke Babbitt, who, Ms. Hector says, “is just awesome.”

 

“She’s real. It’s rare that you meet someone that is so real. And for me to be able to talk to someone that really listens and understands what I’ve been through is priceless.”

 

Ms. Hector is happy to share that she was just hired for her second part-time job at a hotel, where she has been working in the evening while training to be a tax preparer during the day. She’s been a tax preparer for the last few years, but has now passed the certification that will hopefully turn that work into a full-time job. Her hotel supervisor has suggested that she may have qualifications for management there, as well, so it is promising that opportunities are opening up for Ms. Hector and her family.

 

As for being at The Children’s Home at Christmas time, Ms. Hector says she feels blessed. “I feel very favored by God. It’s been a rough year, and now I have been given the opportunity to get myself together financially, spiritually and physically.

 

“Being here is my Christmas gift.”

 

There’s no better time than now to help families like the Hectors transform their lives. If you go online through Dec. 31 and make a donation to The Children’s Home, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $96,750.

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