The 40-Year History of Coleman Professional Services

Oct 26, 2018 | Blog

By Nelson W. Burns CEO, Coleman Professional Services

On January 13, 1978, The Kevin Coleman Mental Health Center was formed in honor of Father Coleman who had died unexpectedly five years earlier and who had been an important advocate of community behavioral healthcare for Portage County. From the simple concept of helping Kent residents and KSU students in need of mental health services, our organization has grown to a nine-county, $50 million non-profit that serves thousands of children and adults each year.

This post will highlight each decade and the years in between that really made a difference.


Shirley Hurley, Ph.D., Carol Danks and Lawrence Lippitt, incorporate The Kevin Coleman Mental Health Center as a 501©(3) in the beginning of this year. By the end of the year, gross revenues to the agency were $214,672. It employed 35 individuals.

The Center provided residential  and psychosocial services to the adult population of Portage County.


The Center revised its case management system for the severely mentally disabled. Case managers were tasked to be advocates for their clients, liaisons to area psychiatric facilities and community resources.


On September 25, Nelson W. Burns was hired as the new Executive Director.

Services expanded to Ravenna, with the occupation of the Lovers Lane building, with an eight-bed residential treatment program aimed as servicing young adults.


On the ten-year anniversary of the organization, there were five major milestones:

  • Sage Computer Services (later renamed to Coleman Data Solutions) was formed to provide our clients with data entry vocational training opportunities.
  • The Crisis Intervention program was expanded to around the clock telephone and in-person service. It received on average 1,000 calls or visits per month, up 121% as compared to 1987 numbers.
  • The Kevin Coleman Foundation was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising private funds to support the mission of The Kevin Coleman Mental Health Center. For every $1 donated, the center generated $73 in mental health services. The goal was to provide mental health services to anyone on a sliding scale basis, so the underserved population could receive the services they needed.
  • The Center helped 3,268 clients in a variety of services from counseling to vocational rehabilitation in four-counties: Portage, Summit, Trumbull and Franklin. This was a 65% increase compared to 1984 data.
  • A $64,000 grant was received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Ohio Department of Mental Health for the purchase and renovation of two Ravenna houses and one apartment. It was designed to provide permanent placement for those individuals that were mentally disabled and homeless.


The Kevin Coleman Foundation’s building campaign drew more than 400 donors who collectively contributed more than $265,000 for a new building in Franklin Township. No public or tax monies were required.

The Coleman Wellness Solutions division was started with the rollout of Employee Assistance Programs to local northeast Ohio companies.


The Kevin Coleman Mental Health Center was legally renamed Coleman Professional Services.  It served those in need of its services in Portage, Summit and Trumbull counties.

Key facts and figures:

  • Over 25% of the people Coleman assisted, were severely mentally disabled.
  • Coleman reduced the total number of days Portage County residents stayed in state psychiatric hospitals by more than 21% since 1994. This was a savings to taxpayers of more than $450,000.
  • The number of children helped swelled over 600% as compared to 1995 figures.


The 20-year anniversary marked four major achievements. Coleman:

  • Had a $9.9 million budget
  • 300 employees
  • Provided over $1.2 million of non-subsidized mental health and addiction services
  • Merged with Portage Area Senior Services (PASS), which became Coleman Adult Day Services


Four building projects were completed; an addition on the PASS building in Ravenna and renovation on their Kent facility, a group home, serving five adults, was purchased and renovated in Edinburg and The Sue Hetrick building in Ravenna was built.

This year, Coleman Professional Services assisted nearly 4,000 adults and children, of which, 75% of its client base had annual incomes of less than $8,000 per year.


On the thirtieth anniversary, the following indicators were:

  • Served 14,888 individuals and families. This was an increase of 29% from 2007.
  • Received a $450,000 capital grant from the Ohio Department of Mental Health to tear down the existing Franklin properties and rebuild Franklin House into an 11-bed supported living site.


Expanded services into Allen, Auglaize and Hardin counties under the Mental Health and Recovery Board contract. Built two, six-unit apartment buildings in Lima to serve individuals affected with behavioral health issues.


Three buildings became operational this year:

  • Union Square in Allen County
  • The Children’s Center in Portage County
  • The Phoenix Building in Portage County

Coleman entered the retail segment, with the opening of Coleman’s newest social enterprise business Bean and The Baker on the ground floor of the Phoenix Building.

As compared to 2015:

  • Clinical services increased 2%
  • Residential placements grew 52%
  • Job placements sprouted 27%

Coleman started offering services in Jefferson County, rounding out an eight-county coverage plan for the persons with behavioral health diagnosis, including adults, children and families.


For the 40th year celebration, the following significant milestones have been met:

  • Building two transitional age youth apartment units in Portage and Stark counties that have ten units each
  • Building a Therapeutic Playscape in Portage County.
  • Added Mahoning County, the ninth service county
  • Revenues will exceed $50 million by December 31
  • Currently have over 750 employees

Thank You for Supporting Us for 40 Years!

Coleman Professional Services is a nationally recognized not-for-profit provider of behavioral health and rehabilitation programs that improve the lives of individuals and families in nine Ohio counties. If you or a loved one need help, please contact us 24/7.

For lasting support of our mission please consider making a gift or remembering Coleman Professional Services in your estate planning.

I look forward to seeing what the next forty years bring!