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Two Local Nonprofits Seek City Blessing of Merger

Published on Sunday, February 23, 2020 | 9:20 pm

Two longtime local nonprofits are proposing a merger which requires the Pasadena City Council’s approval.

AbilityFirst and FVO Solutions (FVOS), Inc., formerly known as Foothill Vocational Opportunities, Inc., are seeking the Pasadena City Council’s approval for AbilityFirst to assume the obligations of FVOS under two agreements that FVO and the the former Pasadena Community Development Commission entered into in 2001.

Under an agreement, the merger requires approval by the City Council.

On February 18, AbilityFirst CEO Lori Gangemi and FVOS CEO Pietro Rosetti announced the planned merger of the two service organizations, both based in Pasadena, “to bring enhanced program opportunities for people with developmental disabilities in the greater Pasadena area. Both our boards of directors have voted to merge our organizations to collectively increase our impact,” Gangemi said.

The agreements with the Pasadena Community Development Commission – an Owner Participation Agreement (OPA) and an Agreement Containing Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions Affecting Real Property (CC&R) – allowed for the Commission to assist FVO financially in the form of a grant that was used for the payment of costs incurred in the construction of a new 8,000 square foot, two-story classroom and office building along Fair Oaks Ave., which FVO needed to expand its facilities.

The grant will be provided until December 31, 2040, according to an agenda report for the City Council.

The agreements allow FVO to use the renovated and new facilities to “provide high quality employment, job training, and support services to developmentally disabled adults of the City of Pasadena; provide primary service to low and moderate income residents of the City of Pasadena; and endeavor to expand its employment of developmentally disabled individuals from the City of Pasadena,” the agenda report said.

Since AbilityFirst and FVOS are merging, the report said the City Council will have to approve the merger, as well as amendments to the OPA and CC&R, before AbilityFirst can assume the obligations of FVOS on the use of funds from the former Pasadena Community Development Commission, and assume use of the building.

The report also said AbilityFirst plans to relocate its administrative headquarters from its current leased building on Green Street to the FVOS property at Fair Oaks Ave. before the lease expires in 2022.

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