Extend-A-Care for Kids and YMCA of Austin, two of the biggest names in after-school programs and summer camps, are merging.
The combined after-school program will include more than 100 schools in 10 Central Texas districts and provide after-school care for more than 5,000 children. The combined summer and school holiday day camp program will serve 30 locations and 3,500 kids.
Extend-A-Care for Kids started 50 years ago with one school and grew to more than 80 schools serving about 3,500 kids. YMCA of Austin's after-school program started about 30 years ago and now has 27 schools serving 1,500 kids.
Parents and children should not notice any changes this school year, officials with the two nonprofits said. The staff, curriculum and childcare rates will be the same.
In the 2020-21 school year, parents and kids will notice a new name, Extend-A-Care YMCA, and more services and financial assistance. Families served by Extend-A-Care for Kids will have access to more YMCA programs, such as swimming, sports, health and nutrition.
"We are always wanting to do more, offer more services for our families," said Extend-A-Care for Kids Executive Director Joan Altobelli. "We're limited by a single budget and specialties and equipment. By merging, we'll have new specialties and resource we can tap into."
The YMCA of Austin families will have more access to financial assistance through the federal, state and internal programs Extend-A-Care for Kids taps into.
The boards of the two nonprofit organizations have been talking about merging for three years.
"Both organizations looked at it through the lens of what's best for the kids and families we serve," YMCA of Austin's President and CEO James Finck said. "What's going to make it better?"
All of the assets and resources from Extend-A-Care for Kids will be transferred to the YMCA of Austin when the merger goes through in January. Neither group anticipates any layoffs, including of office and executive staff. All the in-school staff will be trained under one program and the curriculum will become the same for the next school year.
Altobelli will become the vice president of licensed child care services for Extend-A-Care YMCA. Extend-A-Care Operations Director Jaime Garcia will take over as executive director of the Extend-A-Care YMCA.
Some of the higher-level YMCA staff like Altobelli will be able to do more vision planning, join the conversation around child care on a national level, and to see what other programs the community needs.
"I want us to be the national model: our practices and our systems, what we do and how we train," Finck said. "I want others from around the country to be studying what we do."
Both organizations have been working with local, regional, state and national governments to get more funding for after-school care. Now, they'll have more manpower working together on that.
Finck said that the combined organization might be able to expand into more schools and perhaps look at opening full-time and part-time preschools and early learning centers or working with school districts to offer that inside their schools.
"When we looked at what we want to individually achieve, it's the same as what we wanted to do when we merge," he said. Now, as one group more resources will be available for families and staff, he said. "Bigger is better in this sense."