What you should know about Merrick Community Services

For more than 110 years, Merrick Community Services has demonstrated through its mission that it supports individuals and families to navigate life transitions, find health and stability, and promote independence.  

Merrick Community Services was founded on Saint Paul’s East Side in 1908 as the Christ Child Society, a part of a national model of settlement houses, which provided essential services to economically disadvantaged communities.  Today, Merrick Community Services stands as one of the oldest nonprofit agencies in Ramsey County, with a history of assisting individuals and families transition from poverty and become self-sufficient and stable.  The core programs of MCS are Nutritional and Independence Services (comprised of the Food Shelves and MOW/Senior Services) and Employment, Family and Youth Services.


August 2019


Merrick Community Services (MCS) is seeking an experienced Business Development Consultant to guide and support Staff in creating a sustainable Non-Profit Social Enterprise Business Model, aligned with our Mission and Strategic Plan.  The Social Enterprise will serve unemployed (and under-employed) individuals with employment barriers, such as a criminal background, disability, and/or age bias (Youth or Senior).  Through the design and development of a newly created Staffing Agency, under-served individuals will be recruited, screened, and supported with a variety of wrap-around services and placed with employers who have contracted with MCS to identify successful candidates.


Merrick Community Services was founded on Saint Paul’s East Side in 1908, as the Christ Child Society of Saint Paul, in the tradition of an early 20th Century Settlement House that provided essential services to new arrivals and immigrants and economically disadvantaged individuals and families.  Today, Merrick Community Services (MCS) stands as one of the oldest nonprofit social service agencies in Ramsey County, with a history of being steadfast in assisting individuals and families overcome poverty and become self-sufficient.  The agency is a one-stop shop, helping individuals and families meet their basic needs and gain the skills or knowledge they desire to create a better future for themselves, their family, and their community.  The core programs of MCS are the Food Shelf and Career, Family, Senior, and Youth Services.

Merrick Community Services has a dedicated and committed Board of Directors made up of up to 21 Board Members.  Merrick’s staff consists of 21 employees and a handful of independent contractors.  In addition, MCS benefits from approximately 800 individual volunteers.             

Merrick completed an update of its 2011 Community Needs Analysis to assess the East Side’s changing demographics, better understand its socioeconomic conditions and trends, and identify growing disparities. The analysis indicated the poverty rate is 27% with 8.4% of residents being unemployed, well above the national average of 3.7%.  Additionally, only 29% of adults have obtained a high school diploma or GED equivalent.  In the Railroad Island neighborhood, where MCS has historically been based, the conditions are even more acute with a poverty rate over 50%.  Children all across the East Side are hit the hardest by these disparities – as 40% of all East Side children live at or below the federal poverty level (Annual income of $25,750 for a family/household of 4).

Merrick’s primary goal is to reduce poverty by guiding individuals and families to be self-sufficient and independent by utilizing its wraparound programs and services that stabilize, strengthen, and nurture the lives of those struggling with poverty on Saint Paul’s East Side and beyond.

In 2017-18, Merrick underwent a comprehensive Strategic Planning Process, which resulted in a revised Mission, Vision, and Values and new Strategic Goals, as outlined below


Merrick Community Services supports individuals and families to navigate life transitions, find health and stability, and promote independence. 


Families and individuals access support and find opportunities, overcome challenges, and contribute to create an East Side community which is celebrated as vibrant, healthy, and welcoming.

 Core Values

  • Individuality, Diversity & Dignity: We meet people where they are at; honor each person’s unique culture, needs, and abilities; and work with them to recognize their strengths and utilize their power to create change.
  • Integrity: We act with sincerity and transparency within the community and within our organization.
  • Partnership: We partner with community volunteers, organizations, and institutions to increase community engagement and impact.
  • Stewardship: We utilize, maximize and leverage resources in a responsible manner.
  • Responsive: We listen to the community, and adapt our organization’s talents, skills, and resources to identified needs.

We act with sincerity to honor the values of Merrick Community Services.

Strategic Goals (2018-2021)

Goal 1:  Merrick becomes a vibrant community center through a comprehensive and intentional process that leads to the evolution of existing and development of new programs and services.

Goal 2:  Grounded in the legacy of settlement houses, Merrick has strong external relations, and is known as both a provider of quality services as well as an influencer on broader efforts that impact participant lives and create positive community change.

Goal 3:  Merrick amplifies and invests in our human capacities and resources to support increased impact.

Goal 4:  Merrick utilizes an equity framework in all decision making to address issues of bias and systemic inequity within our organization and ensure we are a welcoming organization.

Goal 5: Merrick has a sustainable business model, leveraging relationships to create a diverse resource portfolio that includes grants, contracts, individual giving, volunteer support, alternative revenue generation, and operational partners.


The objective of the Project is the creation and development of a sustainable Non-Profit Social Enterprise Business Model in the form of a Staffing Agency, aligned with our Mission and Strategic Plan.  The newly created Staffing Agency will serve unemployed (and under-employed) individuals with employment barriers, such as a criminal background, disability, and/or age bias (Youth or Senior).  The Staffing Agency will contract with employers to recruit, screen, and support successful candidates for employment with a variety of wrap-around services.

The Project Scope includes the following:
  • Market Opportunity – Conduct a feasibility study, including market research, to determine the viability of such an enterprise. This will also include identifying viable career pathways, along with potential employers to generate business.
  • Operational Capacity Requirements – Identify the skills, resources, and tools required to successfully operate the enterprise.
  • Financial Potential – Create and assess a potential business model that will generate revenue to achieve business breakeven (“100% business recovery”) after three years.
  • Social Feasibility – Assess the likelihood of the enterprise succeeding in attaining the social change we are pursuing: successful employment placement of unemployed (and under-employed) individuals with employment barriers, such as a criminal background, disability, and/or age bias (Youth or Senior).
  • Strategic Alignment – Assess the fit of the enterprise with Merrick Community Services and its Mission, Vision, Values. Determine what organizational structure would be required to move the enterprise forward.

MCS seeks the expertise of a business development consultant to manage the overall scope of the Project.  The identified consultant will be responsible for the following:

  1. Regular check-in meetings with the Executive Director and Business Venture Steering Committee (To Be Determined)
  2. Periodic Updates and Reports prepared for MCS Executive Director and MCS Board of Directors
  3. Create a timeline and budget for the completion of the Project and requirement to stay within budget
  4. Written Final Report including findings, key business model recommendation(s), revenue projections, etc., which will be used to launch a Social Enterprise in 2020
  5. Presentation of Final Report to MCS Board of Directors

Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by the Executive Director, who will recommend candidates for consideration to the Executive Committee and/or Business Venture Steering Committee.  Criteria for selection will include a 25 point scoring system:

  • Quality of Proposed Project and Work Plan (15 points)
  • Demonstrated knowledge, skills, and experience in planning successful Business Development projects for other nonprofit organizations (5 Points)
  • Competitiveness of proposal cost/hourly rate (5 Points)

As a requirement of the government funding source, MCS must take all necessary affirmative steps to assure targeted vendors from businesses with active certifications through these entities are used when possible:

  1. State Department of Administration’s Certified Targeted Group, Economically Disadvantaged and Veteran-Owned Vendor List
  2. Metropolitan Council’s Targeted Vendor list: Minnesota Unified Certification Program


Interested candidates should email the following to Daniel A. Rodriguez, Executive Director, Merrick Community Services (drodriguez@merrickcs.org):

  • A Proposed Work Plan that contains methodology, timeline, and deliverables for the Project
  • A Project Budget
  • Exclusions or exceptions
  • Description of qualifications and/or resume of consultant(s) involved in Project, including active certification of being on the referenced above approved targeted vendor lists
  • Reference and contact information of three nonprofit organizations that have utilized strategic planning services in the last 18-24 months

Applications should be received by September 13, 2019.


If you have any questions, contact Daniel A. Rodriguez at drodriguez@merrickcs.org or 651-771-8821.