2021 Address & Annual Report

Published on August 5, 2021


July 16, 2021

Covid-19 has received much attention during 2020 and 2021. It has been a priority to keep residents and staff as safe as possible in a caring and supportive environment. Emergency preparedness, infection control and pandemic plans have been refined and implemented to address this challenging situation. The residents and staff in our four communities are working together in a positive and supportive manner to manage and overcome this crisis. There is solace in going through difficult times together. The response of this vulnerable group who have been concerned for others and the welfare of our country and world before themselves has been inspirational.

Beginning in 2019, Givens placed an emphasis on respecting differences, diversity, and inclusion. This continued through 2021 with a specific focus on inclusion. There is much work to be done though we are pleased with current progress and enthusiastic about the future and the opportunity to become stronger and healthier through this process.

Givens Estates is renovating Oxford Commons, the main building on campus. The renovations will expand the dining options and wellness opportunities and were complete in April of 2021. Also, Estates is building Friendship Park which is designed to replace some of the older more moderately priced housing and includes 80 one and two-bedroom apartments. Friendship Park will be completed in December of 2021. While these projects are under construction, attention will soon be shifting to phase 2 of the campus master plan which includes a significant renovation of the health care center and converting semi-private rooms to suites. The health center will be working with Action Pact to continue its effort of becoming more resident and staff focused. This process was delayed due to Covid. It will begin this October.

In 2020, Highland Farms built The Cottages which is sixteen one and two-bedroom homes on a beautiful seven-acre site. While these projects were underway, attention shifted to phase 2 of the campus master plan which will include demolition of part of Brookside and construction of the new Brookside Commons which will be the home of the kitchen, dining and commons areas, and the new Brookside Apartments which will include 30 one and two-bedroom apartments. Concurrently, they will build the new Vista Ridge Apartments which will include 36 one and two-bedroom apartments and will be connected to the new dining and activity areas. These additional phases of the master plan will augment Meadowmont Homes and The Cottages which will further transform that wonderful community.

Great Laurels continues to emphasize the importance of social connections and being a community. The onsite Manna Food pantry and access to campus nursing continues to benefit residents. This wonderful community is fully occupied with healthy waiting lists which is a testimony of the need and demand for quality affordable housing in Western North Carolina.

Gerber Park is a wonderful community that is fully occupied with healthy waiting lists which is evidence of the need and demand for quality affordable housing in Western North Carolina. Socialization is the cornerstone of resident life with a particular emphasis on nutritious meals, addressing food insecurity, navigating a complex and complicated health system, and accessing community-based services. Residents collaborate with staff to make this a vibrant and lively community. Two meals are available each weekday in the Go to Café. The medical clinic is a partnership with Blue Ridge Health and provides residents onsite access to primary care.

LifeMinistries, our faith and community-based outreach program, is committed to a wellness philosophy of whole-person health not only for our residents but for many living beyond their campuses. The program is actively working to address health disparities of underserved, diverse, and vulnerable populations in Western North Carolina by providing access to resources and health education that empowers individuals to improved wellness and quality of life. It has been particularly successful in the area of chronic disease management. LifeMinistires enables congregations to share their gifts and talents in addressing health and addressing needs including those of lower-income seniors through a a community nurse program. In addition, LifeMinisitries will now be providing oversight to the supportive services in our affordable communities to address the needs of our lower-income residents.

Despite expenses related to Covid and lower than budgeted occupancy in the licensed areas including assisted living, Givens continues to do well financially. We have received stimulus money several times, which has been beneficial. Moreover, the economy has remained strong, and our investments have performed extremely well. As of June 30, 2021, our income from operations is $1,800,000, our change in net assets is $4,000,000, our debt service coverage ratio is 3.63%, our net operating ratio is 107%, and we have 647 days cash on hand.

I am pleased to report that in May, Fitch upgraded our rating from a BBB+ with a positive outlook to an A- with a stable outlook. We were not anticipating this improved position to occur particularly given our ambitions plans for Estates and Highland Farms, potential growth for Givens Communities, a continued pandemic and that we are in a period in which many downgrades are occurring. Nevertheless, we are enthusiastic that we are strong financially and about our new rating. If you have not read the May Fitch report, I commend it to you. It is a good summary of our financial health.

Progress with the strategic plan which includes the master plans for our Life Plan Communities. The master plan for our Life Plan Communities is an investment of approximately $100,000,000 for Estates and $100,000,000 for Highland Farms. There are four phases to be implemented of 10 years. Phase 1 is approximately $50,000,000 and is on schedule to conclude this year. Phase 2 is

approximately $50,000,000 and is being planned in earnest including the financing which will close in September. So, we are on pace to complete the master plans as originally scheduled.

We have been in a campaign to raise $1,250,000 for the Oxford Commons Renovations at Givens Estates. The campaign is on schedule to conclude this August. We are grateful to everyone who has contributed and those planning to contribute to this important effort. Also, we have received more than $150,000 in gifts for the Brookside Commons addition at Highland Farms.

During the past year, it was necessary for Information Technology to respond to sudden changes in the operations due to Covid. We were able quickly expand our social interaction technology on all campuses for residents while concurrently successfully meeting the dynamic and mobile needs of team members. This was possible because of investments in our infrastructure during previous years.

Human Resources partnered with a management consulting company to conduct leadership training related to cultural inclusion. We established a relationship with a direct primary care provider for the purpose of having a third benefit plan offering our team members a more personalized and comprehensive medical provider relationship. Also, Human Resources redesigned our internal hiring process creating interview guides to establish consistency in hiring as well as providing interview and hiring training for all leadership.

The Dogwood Health Trust encouraged us to submit a capacity building grant request to develop more affordable senior housing in Western North Carolina. They approved the request of $285,000 which will enable us to hire a project development coordinator and contract with an affordable development consultant to development more affordable communities. Also, we completed market studies for Haywood County and Marion, areas that have been of interest to us previously and those studies indicate there is need.

Last October, our President and CEO Ken Partin announced his plans to retire after 40 years with Givens Communities. I appointed the Executive Committee to serving as the search committee. We engaged the Deffet Group a national executive search firm with significant experience in our industry to guide us and in January 2021, we launched a thorough search process. We have included our constituencies in the search and are pleased to report that we will be making a final recommendation about our new President and CEO to the board this morning.

We are grateful to Ken for his leadership and on June 11 had a Covid friendly luncheon to celebrate his accomplishments with many who have been so important to Ken and Givens over the years. In honor of Ken, we have established the Partin Innovation Fund in recognition of his servant leadership, innovation and vision. Gifts to this fund will provide Givens Communities critical resources for future innovations on our four campuses that meant so much to Ken throughout his career.

Givens Communities continues to be an exciting organization with an abundance of opportunities serving seniors in Western North Carolina. We remain enthusiastic about our Life Plan Communities, affordable housing, emphasis on keeping residents independent for as long as possible, and goal of being a responsible employer in which team members are welcomed, respected, and appreciated.