Strive: New name, renewed mission

Jeff Nichols, chief executive officer of Strive, discusses the name change for what was formerly Mesa Developmental Services. Nichols said the new name better reflects the range of services offered by Grand Junction-based organization as well as its mission. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)

 Phil Castle, The Business Times

 An organization that for nearly 50 years has provided a wide range of services to people facing physical and intellectual challenges has a new name leaders say better reflects a renewed sense of mission.

“The name simply symbolizes the body of what we do,” said Jeff Nichols, chief executive officer of what is now called Strive.

Jeff Parker, president of the board that oversees Strive, agreed. “This reflects our work, who we are and what we do.”

Nichols and Parker discussed the change during a news conference announcing the new name for what formerly was known as Mesa Developmental Services.

The nonprofit organization based in Grand Junction outgrew its former name in a number of ways, Nichols said.

In addition to providing services to clients with developmental disabilities, the organization offers other services and in other areas outside Mesa County, he said.

What’s more, Mesa Developmental Services sometimes caused confusion as to whether the organization actually was involved in real estate or energy development, Nichols said. And the term developmental services has fallen out of favor, he added.

Strive better reflects the ongoing mission of the organization to help the people its serves, Nichols added — not to mention their individual efforts to become more self-sufficient and contributing members of the community.

Joe Warner, vice president of the board that oversees Strive, said the new name will better accommodate changes going forward. “We think we have a name we can really growth with.”

Strive serves a total of about 780 children and adults with physical and intellectual challenges, most of them in Mesa County, but also some in Delta and LaPlata counties. Services range from early intervention and prevention services for infants and children to group homes, therapy and training for adults.

In addition, Strive provides services to businesses through a number of programs that also put clients to work.

A vocational division provides crews for commercial janitorial, lawn and grounds maintenance services. Through Labor Solutions, clients provide such contract services to businesses as assembly, bulk mailing, document shredding and sorting. Strive also puts clients to work at Uniquely Yours, a retail store in downtown Grand Junction, as well as places clients with a variety of businesses.

Strive recently launched Audyssey, a  new initiative offering services to children and adults on the autism spectrum. Yet another new program called Trusted Care will offer home care services, including homemaking and skilled nursing services.

With a staff of 380, Strive ranks among the largest employers in Mesa County. The organization paid a total of $11 million in salaries and benefits and purchased $5 million in goods and services during its 2012 fiscal year.

Strive brings in $16 million annually in revenues. Since about 85 percent of that revenue comes from state funding, the organization brings in money from outside the area.