Central Reformed Church established the Center in 1974.
Yes, it was more than 30 years ago when a group of lay people from Central believed that if the Church was to take “caring” seriously, it should create a counseling center that would serve both the congregation of Central, as well as the greater Grand Rapids community.
The summer of 1974 was when Andy Atwood began working at Central part-time as Minister to Singles. He was also attending Calvin Theological Seminary. And, he began receiving clinical supervision from the Rev. Al DeVoogd, who was a member of the committee at Central that envisioned a counseling center. The committee’s mission was to hammer out a strategic plan for establishing “The Marriage and Family Center” as a nonprofit counseling center. Andy was the first of the Center’s staff, and his first office was in the basement of Central Reformed Church. The committee met every other Thursday morning, from 7:30 until 9:00 AM, for a year or more. In January of 1976 The Marriage and Family Center was incorporated.
The summer before, in 1975, the emerging Center moved into what was then called “The Fountain House”, where the Center remains to this day. Purchased by the Church in 1966 to be razed for parking, the “Bundy House” was designated a Heritage Hill Home in 1968, and thus became protected from destruction. The Property Committee of the Church served as a landlord making the Bundy House available to the Center at a reduced cost. In 1992, through a generous donation from one special friend of the Center, the house was purchased from the Church and became the property of the Board of Trustees of the Center. In 1997 the Board of Trustees realized that it was very costly to maintain a home built in 1884, and so they embarked on a fundraising program.
An Endowment Fund was established in 1997, and periodic contributions are made to the Fund by supporters of the Center. The Board receives the standard 5% annual payout from the balance in the Fund. That 5% is earmarked for three other funds maintained by the Board. First, the Albert DeVoogd Jr. Memorial Outreach Fund, second, the Facilities Fund, and third, the Discretionary Fund (which can be allocated to the Outreach Fund or the Facilities Fund at the Board’s discretion.) Through this wonderful Endowment Fund we are able to maintain a valuable asset, operate economically by not having to pay rent on office space, and underwrite outreach efforts into the community.
In 1996 the Marriage and Family Center changed its name to the “Fountain Hill Center for Counseling and Consultation”. A huge shift! When the Center started back in 1974-1976 the vision was clearly to provide services to marriages and families. But along the way the insurance and managed care industry changed the way business was done. The Center responded by adapting to the “changing needs of marketplace”. Once it was clear that Marriage and Family Therapy was not going to be reimbursed by insurance companies and managed care providers, we began to diversify our services to the community. The name change signaled the service change to us, and to our clientele. You can click on the SERVICES button above to learn about all the different services and programs we are currently offering to our community.
Over the years we have had a variety of wonderful staff join our Center. Some have stayed for decades, while others have come and gone within years. We have learned about change and adaptation, both as a core competence to personal growth, and as a core competence to corporate growth.
We are still affiliated with Central Reformed Church. It was understood right from the beginning that the healthiest form of relationship was one that was well-differentiated, one that was not dependent, not independent, but one that was intentionally interdependent. We have resisted efforts along the way to become independent from Central Reformed Church because of this core belief. A healthy person functions as a well-differentiated interdependent person within his or her family, work environment, church, neighborhood, and community. We work as clinicians, and frankly, as people, to build well-differentiated interdependence in all our relationships.
The model is clear. We want a well-differentiated interdependent relationship to exist between Central Reformed Church and the Fountain Hill Center. We want the same for the relationship between the Board of Trustees (who govern the Center) and the Professional Staff of the Center. And yes, the Professional Staff need to relate to each other as well-differentiated interdependent people. And, we expect the same sort of mature and healthy relationship between a clinician and his or her clients. In fact, all the way through to our clients, our expectations remain consistent. We are working day-in and day-out to foster well-differentiated interdependence among the individuals, couples, and families we work with.
We believe everyone’s next step is the one that takes him or her toward being more well-differentiated and interdependent.
That is why “Your Next Step” is our tag line. A well-differentiated interdependent person is someone who can take the next step toward being themselves as honestly and authentically as possible, while also being a responsible part of each and every relationship to which they belong.
The Fountain Hill Center for Counseling and Consultation is here to help people to take the next step in their journey toward wholeness.