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Auberle and Ward Home, which both focus on foster care and other support for at-risk youth and families, will combine their operations July 1, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Ward, with 17 employees and a budget of just over $1 million, will become a subsidiary of Auberle and retain its name and programs, the paper reports. It has already closed its administrative offices in Scott and relocated to Auberle’s main campus in McKeesport.

The larger Auberle has an annual budget of about $14 million and employs 210 at six facilities, including two emergency shelters and the 412 Youth Zone in Downtown Pittsburgh.

A news release announcing the deal stated that the ongoing trend of nonprofit mergers offers “a positive alternative to organizations closing.”

“People sometimes see merger or affiliation as a loss of identity or mission but this model preserves the name, heritage and reputation of Ward Home while enhancing services for all those we serve in both organizations,” Auberle chief executive John Lydon said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Auberle estimated its programs serve 4,000 individuals annually; Ward Home said it served 285 young men and women last year.