SCOPE works on sale

WARREN – The deal’s not done yet, but SCOPE Executive Director Ralph Smith said the agency is combing through the details to make sure joining with a Ravenna-based agency is feasible.

“We have to determine if things like leases and contract agreements can be transferred,” he said Thursday.

Family and Community Services provides oversight and centralized services to numerous social agencies in northeast Ohio, including local Valley Counseling and Someplace Safe. They have been involved in talks recently about possibly purchasing SCOPE’s assets to provide them with the same oversight.

“We talked with all the major funders and it looks good,” Smith said.

The purchase isn’t so much buying SCOPE’s properties and equipment – its senior centers are all community-owned or rented – but buying their contracts with the county and any of their lease agreements.

Stepping under the FCS umbrella would not effect services offered by the centers but rather would open it to greater grant funding opportunities, both sides have said.

Previously, he said FCS would be able to offer a $19 million grant operation and a human resources department. The organization is an umbrella for 60 programs in 13 counties and two states, most in northeast Ohio.

Most of the current workers would come under the employment of FCS. The board would remain as advisers, continuing to help connect the organization to the community. Changes would be invisible to clients, he said.

The Warren SCOPE was a hive of activity Thursday, with a community meal, food giveaway and daily operations. However, unless something gives, Smith said SCOPE is not going to be able to operating how they currently are.

“We can’t afford to be surprised at the last moment,” he said, which is why they are taking time to pull out leases and agreements, some of which he said are between three and five years old.

He hopes to have a more solid announcement as to where the possible agreement stands by the end of the month.