Live Well Omaha and WELLCOM Merge to Form New Nonprofit, The Wellbeing Partners, Increasing Capacity to Serve Region
Combined nonprofit brings together capabilities of two leading organizations to provide unique 360 degree community health model
Omaha, NE – Two local nonprofits, Live Well Omaha, the leading convener of diverse stakeholders to advocate for policy, systems, and environmental change, and WELLCOM (The Wellness Council of the Midlands), the leader in providing high-level worksite health and wellness strategies for improved organizational culture, have merged to form The Wellbeing Partners.
“Today marks the launch of a new total health model that will connect employees and their home zip codes in an integrated strategy that builds wellbeing into the way communities do business,” declared Sarah Sjolie, former Chief Executive Officer of Live Well Omaha and newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of The Wellbeing Partners. “By delivering the combined capabilities of our two evidence-driven organizations, we will leverage traditional health and wellness models into a ‘both-and’ approach that places individuals in the driver’s seat of their wellbeing while engaging businesses and community members together to align work in critical issues such as healthy food access, connected neighborhoods, and mental wellbeing.”
“The potential impact for The Wellbeing Partners is incredible,” noted Board Chair Frank Venuto, Chief Human Capital Officer with Nebraska Medicine. “One major issue that has already revealed itself for our mission is mental health and wellbeing. It’s a talent retention and recruitment issue for employers and it is still surrounded with stigma in our communities.”
The Wellbeing Partners will engage its diverse membership of more than 150 organizations from various sectors such as health care, education, manufacturing, retail food, architecture, government, public health, and more.
The new organization has the mission to “Build wellbeing into the way communities grow and do business,” and will draw from the 56 years of institutional knowledge of its two parent organizations. WELLCOM was the first nonprofit in the country dedicated to worksite wellness, while Live Well Omaha led the region’s first shared community health needs assessment and community improvement plan.
The Wellbeing Partners is an answer to the evolution of the role businesses play in their communities, and an increased understanding of the social determinants of health and eight dimensions of wellbeing. The organization will ensure that businesses, community organizations, and residents have equitable opportunity to engage in the economy, live their vision, and contribute their purpose.
First Phase of New Programs and Services are Underway
In the coming months and throughout 2020, The Wellbeing Partners plans to introduce new programs and services focused on topics the community has identified as priorities, including: mental health stigma, food security, community safety and connectedness, and strategic consulting and training for workplace and community health programs. Additionally, the organization will be launching services to connect employers to community resources such as transportation and healthy food.
New offerings will not affect the programs and services previously provided by WELLCOM or Live Well Omaha. “In fact, the opposite is true,” says Sjolie. “By combining our resources, we are able to continue the great work our members, partners, and stakeholders have come to rely upon, and take on more of the work they have been asking us for.”
Theresa Nelson, former President and CEO of WELLCOM and current Chief Operations Officer of The Wellbeing Partners, adds, “The businesses WELLCOM served will see a difference by getting more for their memberships, not less. I have talked to many business leaders in preparation for this transition, and the business communities in Iowa and Nebraska are excited and looking forward to benefiting from more data, community connections, and expertise. The Wellbeing Partners hopes to provide an opportunity for organizations to contribute to the multiple dimensions of wellbeing of employees given the many externalities that influence and shape personal decisions.”
The Wellbeing Partners is launching a fully-developed event calendar for the first quarter of 2020, including Trek Up the Tower, previously presented by WELLCOM. Trek Up the Tower is a community vertical stair climb event that will support the mission of The Wellbeing Partners, and will take place on Saturday, February 15, at the First National Tower in downtown Omaha.
The boards of both Live Well Omaha and WELLCOM collaborated over the past year to define the terms of the merger. Subject matter experts provided outside counsel, and leadership from both organizations held in-depth sessions with local partners and stakeholders. Today, The Wellbeing Partners is a registered 501(c)(3) with a board composed of previous board members from Live Well Omaha and WELLCOM. This board presides over an annual operating budget of approximately $1.1M and a team of seven FTEs with new products and services estimated to increase revenue significantly.
“The Wellbeing Partners is poised to become an essential bridge between our members, partners, residents, and investors,” forecasts Sjolie. “The way our communities grow and do business will forever change because of this merger.”