Large in scope but largely unknown, Integrated Family Community Services leads the way through a hand-up, not a hand-out
Douglas County ranks in the top five wealthiest counties in the nation, having climbed up the financial ladder yearly, according to a 2017 report from Headlight Data. But for the 25,000 individuals served annually by IFCS (Integrated Family Community Services), the rising level of affluence in the county only serves to intensify the already glaring gap between the wealthy and the needy.
Todd McPherson, Development Director of IFCS, can identify. He grew up on the East Coast as the youngest of four kids. His mother died when he was four, and his father was disabled with a terminal illness, leaving the family to struggle to get by. “I grew-up in an affluent area,” he says, “and found it challenging to keep my low-income challenges a secret, [and] to live the life of my peers without being an outcast.” But, his background gave him the tools and first-hand experience to aid others in overcoming obstacles he faced, and led to his position as director for the past four and a half years with IFCS.
Founded in 1964 by Maida Navis, IFCS provides a “hand-up,” not a “hand-out,” by giving motivation, incentive, and by providing services not available elsewhere in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, such as emergency and victim assistance services, enrichment programs, financial counseling, moral support, and educational opportunities.
“Our goal is to instill dignity, respect and self-worth into our client’s lives,” explains McPherson. “Many of our clients have gone on to be very stable community leaders that give back because they know that IFCS has made a difference in their lives. We have changed the course of their family’s trajectory and for generations to come.”
As one of the largest social and human services agencies of its kind in the south metro Denver areas of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, IFCS is able to aid families and individuals on a number of levels. From programs that provide teens and children with backpacks, supplies and clothing for school, to holiday food and gift baskets, Adopt-a-Senior programs, Mother’s Day baskets of food, pamper and skin care products, crime victim or disaster assistance, and even operating the largest food bank in South Metro Denver, IFCS strives to do whatever they can to improve family wellness, mentally and physically, and to give a leg-up to those struggling.
But services like these depend on the generosity of others in order to continue to care for our community members. “We’re largely unknown because we don’t spend our dollars on marketing,” says McPherson.
Outside of grants and civic contributions, IFCS needs personal donations to continue to provide. We are consistently seeking partnerships with the community, businesses, civic and social organizations,” says McPherson. “Due to the recent elections, hurricanes, disasters, and overall lower charitable support from traditional sources, we are in dire need of financial contributions.”
The upcoming “Movember” movement is one opportunity to raise money for the health of the community. IFCS also hosts a number of charitable events, such as their annual Nibbles and Sips (February 24, 2018) and the Puttin’ for a Purpose in June. For more information about these events and others, visit their website at IFCS.org