UMRA-URVC group is exploring merger options

Since its founding in 1976, the University of Minnesota Retirees Association (UMRA) has focused on providing retirees with opportunities for social and intellectual engagement. In 1987, the UMRA Board established a committee for volunteer projects. Later that year, the committee was spun off as an autonomous unit, attached to the University and named the University Retirees Volunteer Center (URVC). Since then, URVC has developed a robust system for matching retirees with service projects within the Twin Cities campus and the surrounding community. An UMRA-URVC working group is now looking at ways in which the two units could join forces to better serve retirees and the University community.

Several issues underlie the current exploration of the UMRA-URVC relationship. First, comments from both new and prospective retirees indicate confusion about why there are two units serving U of M retirees, and which organization they should join. Second, as the University, guided by the PEAK initiative, considers how to better align and streamline its service operations for more efficiency and effectiveness, it seems appropriate for the two retiree organizations to examine if they are achieving maximum impact in their current configurations.

In discussing these issues at an UMRA Board meeting, John Anderson (former UMRA president and long-time chair of the URVC Board), suggested that a merged organization would be a “three-legged stool, offering social engagement, intellectual stimulation, and service opportunities.” 

On the other hand, it is argued that because the two organizations have such different goals and operational structures, a merger would be problematic. Finances and relationships with the University also add complexity to the discussions. These issues will be addressed as the working group considers options for moving forward.

 A final report and recommendations will be presented to the UMRA and URVC boards in Spring 2022. Members of the working group include Jerry Rinehart (chair), Will Craig, Cathy Lee Gierke, Eric Hockert, Deanne Magnusson, and Kris Mortensen. 

 —Jerry Rinehart, URVC Chair and UMRA Past President

Publication date: 
December 20, 2021
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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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