The mission of United Partners for Human Services is to educate, support and advocate for public and private not-for-profit human service agencies of the Big Bend.

Latest News

Public Hearings on Women’s Financial Concerns

The Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls is holding Public Hearings on Women’s Financial Concerns

The focus of the 2014-2015 Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls is “building bridges to economic security” for women and girls in our community. The Commission has identified housing, transportation, childcare, and income to be several of the factors that impact economic security.

For more information, dates and locations, please download the flyer.

UPHS 2014 Webinar Series - Free for UPHS Members!


UPHS 2014 Webinar Series – Free for UPHS member staff

The Webinars will be posted to the UPHS website after the live event.

If you participate in the live webinar you will be able to engage in the 30 minutes Q and A portion.

Look for registration information 10 days before the scheduled webinar.

Each Webinar will contain 1 hour of instruction with PowerPoint slides and 30 minutes for Q and A.

September 16 – Customer Service: Building a Culture of Service
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Instructor: Chris Lolley, Training Coordinator, Big Bend Communty Based Care
Webinar registration

September 23 – The Perils of Conducting Background Checks -- When is it TMI?
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Instructor: Joyce Chastain, Senior Professional in Human Resources, Krizner Group

Webinar registration

September 30 – Engaging Supervision: The relationship factor that can make or break your team
10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Instructor: Carol Edwards, Director of Training, Community Based Care of the Big Bend

Webinar Registration

Elder Care Services Receives Capital Medical Society Foundation Grant to Assist Seniors with Aging in Place

Photo of CMS and Elder Care check presentationElder Care Services received a $3,450 grant from the Capital Medical Society Foundation to help keep more seniors where they want to be – in their home. The grant will provide supplemental services for twenty (20) at-risk seniors and their caregivers who are currently on a waiting list. These services typically include bathing, light housekeeping, trips to the doctor, help understanding/paying bills, filing insurance claims and respite from care giving responsibilities.

When compared to other long-term care options, Elder Care Services’ In-Home Services program is the most cost-effective method of serving frail seniors. According to the 2013 Florida County Profiles, compiled by The Florida Department of Elder Affairs, Leon County has 1,406 beds available in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and they maintain an 89.9% occupancy rate. With 938 seniors on the Elder Care Services waiting list, the delta between the needs of our seniors and the supply of local options continues to grow at an alarming rate.

We estimate that our In-Home Services program is about half the cost of an assisted living facility ($42,600 per year) and roughly 23% of the costs of nursing home placement ($82,125 per year) based on the results of GenWorth Financial’s 2013 Cost of Care Survey. When you consider the strong desire of seniors and their families to avoid nursing home placement, due to economic pressures and the increased challenges caregivers face to remain emotionally stable, In-Home Services is far and away the most cost-effective solution.

The Capital Medical Society Foundation grant will provide one-time only services to those in need who would normally qualify for state and federal programs, if more funding were available.

At present funding levels, large numbers of our seniors are scoring higher on their Comprehensive Client Assessments and at risk of entering a nursing home. Additional funding is critical for us to be able to deliver these vitally important services to as many high risk seniors as possible.

In partnership with many organizations in the community, our care managers work closely with families to provide services that enable at-risk seniors to maintain their dignity while maximizing their independence and quality of life. Our In-Home Services are the cornerstone of that effort. Direct Care Specialists visit homes on a regularly scheduled basis to provide the following personal care services: bathing, dressing, grooming, homemaking and companionship/respite. They become “extended family” to the seniors and their caregivers. Changes in health or physical abilities are reported immediately so the care manager can re-evaluate the care plan and make the necessary adjustments to the type and/or amount of services being provided.

"The benefit to me and my family through Elder Care Services’ In-Home Services program is simply amazing. I am the caregiver for my father-in-law, and if it was not for the wonderful staff at Elder Care Services, providing services based on his needs while waiting for subsidized funding – I do not know where we would be. Their staff helps with his personal care and provides him companionship during the day while we are away at work. If it was not for the generosity of Elder Care Services and the supplemental funding provided from this grant, my father-in-law would be in a nursing home, which would be truly difficult for him. In addition to providing services when state funds were not available, their staff worked with their community partners to provide a mini grant to remodel his bathroom so he could get in and out of the tub easier without assistance. The Elder Care Services In-Home Services staff are awesome; they really go above and beyond to help seniors in need while improving the quality of life of everyone they serve.” – Janie Register

There is no way to fully express our gratitude for the loyalty and generosity of our supporters. We could never do all the things we do without help from partners like the Capital Medical Society Foundation.

For more information on becoming a partner or donating to this program, please contact Amber R. Tynan, development and communications director, at 850-245-5931 or

Celebrating the Inaugural Class of Thunderdome Tallahassee

The Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association announces the membership of Class 1 of Thunderdome Tallahassee, a hands-on legal group training program to provide education, mentoring, networking, and leadership to a new generation of lawyers serving Leon County. Launching in September 2014, Thunderdome Tallahassee addresses a desperate need for equal access to justice for low-income families and children, by attracting, harnessing, and developing the talent of volunteer lawyers as they serve those needing family law assistance. This groundbreaking program has been developed by committee and curriculum partners representing Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit Family Law Judges, Florida State College of Law and Public Interest Law Center, Leadership Tallahassee, Tallahassee Bar Association & Young Lawyers’ Section, Tallahassee Women Lawyers, and the Virgil Hawkins Bar Association.

Download the full press release here.

Sales Tax Extension Public Hearing: Nonprofits Are Included

Leon County voters officially have the power during November's general election to decide whether to extend the existing 1-percent Blueprint tax and give all-or-nothing approval on a package of 25 top-tier infrastructure projects.

On Tuesday, following the first and only public hearing, county commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance on a 20-year extension following the 2019 expiration, pending voter approval. Extending the infrastructure sales tax generates $756 million, roughly $37.8 million per yer.

For the rest of the story and to watch a video about the hearing, please read the Tallahassee Democrat article.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Named Tallahassee’s 2014 Chamber Awards Non-Profit of the Year and Finalist for National Agency of the Year

Photo of Big Brothers Big Sisters staff with the award.The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce announced the winners for its 2014 Chamber Awards during a ceremony held in front of almost 400 attendees on June 3. Six different category winners were announced, including the Non-Profit of the Year award to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend.

CEO Louis Garcia accepted the awarded with a stage full of board members and employees. “We could not do it without the investment of our mentors,” Garcia said. “They invest their lifestyle and they provide 1-to-1 time with a kid who all they want is for someone to show up and listen to them, be their friend and inspire them to do great things.” Garcia dedicated the award to all of the agency’s volunteer mentors.

“I am extremely delighted that Big Brothers Big Sisters is recognized by our business partners and the entire community for our long-lasting impact with youth,” adds Garcia, “for 43 years Big Brothers Big Sisters has been changing children’s lives in Tallahassee for the better, forever.” The Big Bend agency serves eight counties in Florida, providing mentoring support to over 800 youth and mentors each year.

“As the voice of local business in Tallahassee, the Chamber Awards are our opportunity to recognize the best businesses and organizations for their success and commitment to our community,” said Sue Dick, President/CEO of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County.

The local award is not the only recognition for the agency’s quality performance. Recently, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America National Leadership Council identified Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend as a 2013 Gold Standard Award winner. This award is granted to the network’s top performers among 340 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies nationwide. Top performers meet the following criteria for service last year: growth in end active matches, excellent community and school-based mentoring retention rates, 90% or higher on-going match support completion, and 5% or higher revenue growth.

On June 17, at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America National Leadership Summit Awards Gala, winners of the 2014 National Agency of the Year will be announced in Chicago. The Big Bend agency is one of thirteen finalists nationwide identified as Gold Standard Performers eligible for the award.

News Coverage of the 15th Annual Conference

UPHS Member Receives Florida Blue Foundation’s Sapphire Award

UPHS is pleased to congratulate one of its member organizations, Big Bend Cares, for being one of just two organizations in Florida receiving the Florida Blue Foundation’s Sapphire Award. The awards recognize results, innovation and excellence in healthcare. The video below was made for the awards ceremony.


United Partners for Human Services Invites You to Attend 15th Annual Conference

“Taking on Today: Success Strategies for Human Services Professionals in the New Normal” provides invaluable opportunities for the human-service professionals

In these times of shrinking budgets, it can be hard to find quality professional-development opportunities that both offer great value and also are affordable. The United Partners for Human Services (UPHS) has the answer for you!

UPHS is holding its 15th Annual Conference on Nonprofit Management and Leadership Wednesday, May 14 from 8 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Tallahassee Community College Workforce Development Center. The theme for this year's conference is “Taking on Today: Success Strategies for Human Services Professionals in the New Normal.”

This conference is just one of our programs designed to improve the delivery of human services in the Big Bend. UPHS is also proud to be able to partner with some of Tallahassee's finest institutions to provide such a wide range of workshop topics for continuing education credit to our members and others.

Participants will attend workshops facilitated by human services and business leaders who have volunteered to help board members, program staff, and administrators learn about innovative business strategies, and creative approaches to managing and navigating change.

The May 14 plenary lunch session features keynote speaker Mark O'Bryant, CEO of Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, who will speak on creating strategic roadmaps to help organizations thrive in the new change environment.

Among this year's workshops: “Tell the Story: Why Performance Measures Matter”; “Communication Across Generations”; and “Succeeding in the New Normal: Embracing Change and Opportunity.”

After the conference, at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 14, Tallahassee's legal community will offer human service agencies free, 45-minute legal consultations.

Admission is $65 for UPHS members; $85 for students with a student ID; and $100 for non-members. For a complete listing of the 15 workshops to be offered at the conference; and to register, visit

The United Partners for Human Services is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization representing 80 human service agencies in the Big Bend Region. UPHS advocates for human-service funding with local and state elected officials, and provides training and technical assistance to the Big Bend's not-for-profit human service agencies to improve program delivery.

United Partners for Human Services Hires Executive Director -- Ellen Piekalkiewicz

Photo of Ellen Piekalkiewicz.Ellen is a non-profit manager with over 25 years of experience in public policy, legislative and governmental affairs; contract and grants management; disability rights, and grant writing. For the last three years, Ellen has worked a consultant to statewide organizations, local nonprofits, and federal agencies. Prior to that, Ellen was the Executive Director of the Florida Substance Abuse and Mental Health Corporation, an advisory council to the Governor and Florida Legislature. From 2001-2004, Ellen was the Assistant Director of Operations for Disability Rights Florida. She is an avid arts enthusiast with a particular passion for opera. Ellen is originally from Lawrence, Kansas and received her bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College and master’s degree from the University of Kansas. Ellen and her husband have two children – Natalie, a sophomore at Florida State University and Alexander, a senior at Lawton Chiles High School.

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