SAN RAFAEL -- Buckelew Programs and Family Service Agency of Marin, two large nonprofit organization based in Marin, announced they would merge operations, with Family Service Agency becoming a "major operating division" of the larger Buckelew organization.

The merger will create a stronger organization by combining the two nonprofits to meet a wider spectrum of mental health needs, particularly in an era of health care reform, officials said in announcing the deal.

No layoffs and no service reductions are expected, the two organizations said.

"Everyone wins with this merger," Buckelew Programs Executive Director Steve Ramsland said. "The consolidation of our organizations will result in better, more comprehensive services for people in our community, an administrative infrastructure more capable of managing growth and demonstrating impact, and a comprehensive behavioral health organization capable of thriving in the new health reform ecosystem.”

Buckelew, with an annual budget of $12 million, is currently the 15th largest nonprofit in the North Bay, serving Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, according to the 2011 North Bay Business Journal list of nonprofits.  The addition of  Family Service Agency's annual budget of $2.3 million will make the combined organization the North Bay's 11th largest.

Family Service Agency has about 45 regular employees and 35 graduate and post graduate interns. It provides mental health services and substance abuse treatment and other services for some 4,500  children, adults and families. Buckelew operates a number of employment and housing programs for people with mental illness, and employes about 180 people across the three counties. 

The new organization, which will consider a re-branding and a name change, will serve at least 7,000 people in its first year. Family Service Agency will keep its name for the first three years.  Further growth is expected through the Affordable Care Act and the state's Coverage Expansion, which will create some 17,000 newly eligible residents in Marin by 2014, the organizations said.

The merger will take effect March 1, pending state approvals.