The Boston Living Center announced Feb. 8 that it will soon merge with Victory Programs, following last year’s trial in which former BLC executive director Valerie Tebbetts was convicted of embezzling more than $125,000 from the HIV/AIDS organization.
“The Boston Living Center is an anchor for hundreds living with HIV/AIDS who rely on its meals program and peer support everyday. No one wanted to see the Center close because of one person’s illicit activities,” says Victory Programs’ President and CEO Jonathan Scott. “When approaching a merger, Victory Programs considers two levels of benefits: financial and social—this merger has both.”
The Boston Living Center is New England’s largest resource for people living with HIV/AIDS and has been on the scene, along with Victory Programs, since the early days of the epidemic. The organizations share a commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS, as well as an emphasis on community, wellness and nutrition; connections to housing and job training; and a dedication to meeting the city’s emerging health needs.
“Having completed four mergers in the past six years, the leadership at Victory Programs understands what it takes to form strategic alliances,” says Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “This merger is a win-win. Not only does it bring two of Boston’s great nonprofits together under Victory Programs, but it also enables a critical resource for people living with HIV/AIDS to remain open.”
Following discovery of Tebbetts’ illicit action, the Boston Living Center raised more than $250,000 in an emergency campaign from longtime supporters and stakeholders. With the dedication of the staff, board, and support from Victory Programs, member services at the Boston Living Center were not interrupted for a single day.
In addition, Victory Programs helped the Boston Living Center make full restitution to all employees and vendors, and put into place a series of checks and balances to prevent such fraud from happening again. The former executive director is now a convicted felon.