MHCO Announces Management Agreement with Brethren Retirement Community

Greetings MHCO Staff, Residents, Families, Friends, and Community Partners!

I am Elizabeth Kelly, Chair of the MHCO Board.

I have very good news to share regarding our process for affiliation over these past 8 months! This week the Board signed a contract for a full Management Agreement with Brethren Retirement Communities in Greenville, Ohio.

We are very confident that BRC is the best fit with mission, values, and commitment to elder care.

You may recall that in November 2019 we entered a consultation agreement with BRC. This relationship continued through the pandemic and deepened. On August 1 we will conclude the consultation agreement and enter into a 3-year Management Agreement. Under a Management Agreement we allow BRC to manage specific corporate functions and services for 3 years. We do this in a cooperative way to the advantage of both organizations. We’ve set goals and metrics for maintaining financial security and we work together to meet these.

To dispel rumors: this is NOT a sale, acquisition, or asset merger. In other words, MHCO’s mission, corporate identity, and relationship to our five sponsoring churches will not change.

What does this mean for residents, employees, volunteers, and donors?

You chose MHCO and this doesn’t change. Your fees come to MHCO. Your salary and benefits come from MHCO. When you give your volunteer time and donations, these belong to MHCO for their intended purposes.

In the short-term BRC will work with us to renew our existing bonds, create a multi-year strategic plan, and work on mutually developed goals and metrics to gain fiscal stability and security. In fact, this work has already started.

Yes, there will be changes, some small and others bigger. We cannot survive and thrive if we don’t make changes into the future.

During this RFP process, we have learned more about ourselves as an organization and had the opportunity to see ourselves through the lenses of others. We have faced some difficult truths and discovered strengths we had not recognized before.

On behalf of the Board, I extend our deep appreciation for your patience as we reviewed proposals and weighed each one against our goal to ensure a vibrant future for MHCO. Extending the RFP timeline allowed more organizations to review our documentation and prepare proposals. We also understand that it created frustration, and a sense of uncertainty among many employees and residents.

More about this process is outlined later in this video text that is available to you. While we may share information about our process, we are not at liberty to share confidential information related to the identity or details of proposals we reviewed.

We pledge to continue to be transparent in our work and to share our successes and plans, as these unfold.

Please keep watching, and meet a few of our Brethren friends – John Warner, Kara Allread, and Fred Bernhard.  Thank you.

Kara Allread:  Almost 15 years ago, when I walked through the front doors of Brethren Retirement Community on my very first day of work here, I instantly felt at home.  Just a little over 2 years ago, when I visited MHCO for the first time, I instantly had the same feeling.  My name is Kara Allread, I’m Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer here at Brethren Retirement Community.  Over the past 2 years it has been a privilege to get to know many of you, and to further our partnership with MHCO.  We’re excited to have the opportunity to gain the trust and confidence of MHCO family.

John Warner:  Hello friends, this is John Warner – President and CEO of Brethren Retirement Community, and our wholly owned subsidiary, Brethren Management Services.  I bring you greetings from all of us here in Greenville, Ohio.  For the past 2 years, we have worked with the Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio under a consultive agreement.  We are moving that relationship further, as we enter into a management agreement with MHCO.  We are excited about this new opportunity, as we work with the board and the team there, to help them reach their strateigic and operational goals.  We also have enjoyed being part of the Bluffton community, and look forward to furthering the mission of MHCO throughout Putnam, Allen and the surrounding counties.  So thank you for the confidence you have in our organization, again as we assist all of our friends at MHCO to reach their goals.

Fred Bernhard:  Hello my dear friends – I am Fred Bernhard, Chair of the Board of the Brethren Retirement Community.  I am delighted that we are going to have the opportunity to work with each other, and work together in common fellowship and common goals.  Menno Simons and Alexander Mack had something in common – they both believed in what we call today the Anabaptist Theology – the theology of caring for people.  And that is our mutual mission, both at BRC and MHCO.  So I am delighted that we have this opportunity to work together, and I want to tell you that I’m looking forward to working with Elizabeth and the rest of you, and I know that the relationship between our communities will foster a commitment to prosper both communities.  I am delighted and looking forward to this opportunity.  Thank you so much.

Elizabeth Kelly:  We give thanks to God for companioning and guiding us in this journey.

Be well, and the Peace of God be with you–

A brief timeline of the MHCO journey:

November 2019: MHCO entered into a consultation agreement with Brethren Retirement Community with the goal to assist us in gaining fiscal stability and long-term security of our mission and ministry.

February 2020: MHCO census was strong, and we were seeing progress in operating efficiencies and long-term cost savings.

March 2020: The COVID-19 Global Pandemic emerged.

July 2020: MHCO initiated conversations with key stakeholders and the Board decided to move forward on the strategic goal of pursuing affiliation or partnership with another long-term care organization with similar values and mission. Of significant concern was the upcoming Fall 2021 bond renewal.

August-November 2020:  A comprehensive portfolio was assembled detailing information about MHCO, including in-depth financials, property audits, and other significant information and materials.

December 2020: A Request for Proposals was shared with about 18 organizations selected by MHCO. The deadline for response was set for the end of January 2021.

January – April 2021: Due to the impact of COVID, a number shared that they were unable to make a proposal. Several determined that there was not a good mission fit. Several stated that this RFP did not align with their current strategic plan. Four proposals were received, and none offered a full buy-out, asset acquisition, or merger. The strongest offers detailed Management Agreements that would allow those organizations to provide specific corporate functions and services.

May-July 2021: The Board entered deeper conversation with Brethren Retirement Community and negotiated a detailed contract for a full management agreement. Included in the agreement are specific metrics for performance and meeting short and long-term goals.

August 1, 2021: MHCO-BRC Management Agreement begins a three-year term.