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Dorcas Place and IIRI to merge


PROVIDENCE -The Dorcas Place Adult and Family Learning Center and the International Institute of Rhode Island have announced they will merge into one organization known as The Dorcas International Institute as of Jan. 1, 2013.

The Providence-based nonprofits both have a strong focus on workforce development.

“The timing was right. [Both organizations] have a long history and a great amount of service,” said Carol Holmquist, president and CEO of Dorcas Place who will lead the new organization. “We were just in a really good position.”

William Shuey, executive director of IIRI will retire at the end of this year, a move that was planned before the merger was discussed. In fact, his retirement sparked the notion.

“I was just aware of the changing needs of the community and I’ve been toying [with this] the last five or six years,” Shuey said. “[When] you think broadly about community, these things make sense.

Shuey and Holmquist both emphasized that neither organization is in financial distress.

Dorcas Place, founded in 1981, seeks to assist low-income adults with literacy, employment, advocacy, and community involvement.

IIRI, founded in 1921, places an emphasis on helping immigrants and refugees to become self-reliant.

The merger will not involve any layoffs and each organization will maintain its current building location. The move was funded in part by a $25,000 grant from United Way’s Merger and Share Services Fund and a $45,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation.


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