North Marin Community Services evolved as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on January 1, 2018 through a merger between the Novato Youth Center and Novato Human Needs Center — two organizations that sprouted from grassroots, community efforts. After nearly two years of planning and meetings, the governing Boards of both sister organizations voted unanimously to officially merge after more than four decades of both agencies serving the Novato community.
Now stronger together as North Marin Community Services (NMCS), we are serving over 10,000 people in need each year with with 63 highly qualified staff and 255 dedicated volunteers. This merger allowed for a transformational structural change that dramatically improved human services within North Marin for the underserved. The success of this merger can be attributed to our board of directors, staff, volunteers and supporters. No matter which door our clients now enter, they receive integrated services that help them be successful at home, at school and in life—lighting a pathway for a brighter future. In 2022, we celebrated 50 years of dedicated service with recognitions for our work during the pandemic and over 200,000 people served.
Our leadership history is available here.
Novato Youth Center History
In 1966, the Novato Youth Center began as a dream by families who wanted a safe and nurturing place for Novato’s youth. A decade later, after community organizing and fundraising, the newly built facility opened its doors at 680 Wilson Ave. Initially named the Novato Boys Club, the Center evolved and became the Novato Youth Center in 1983. In 1990, the facility was expanded from 15,000 sq ft to 22,000 sq ft, and more programs were launched including mental health counseling and a teen clinic. Offering a wide range of educational and enrichment activities to support the healthy development of youth and their families, the Center grew from serving 250 children to over 2,700 youth and families annually.
Novato Human Needs Center History
The Novato Human Needs Center was founded in 1972 when three people (a single mom, local pastor, and small business owner) wanted to help brighten the holidays for underserved neighbors. Volunteers first worked out of a garage collecting holiday gifts and food. Shortly after its first holiday share, the first paid staff and volunteers moved offices to an older house on South Novato Blvd., paying the City of Novato $1 in annual rent. In 1985, following a successful local community-wide fundraising campaign and completion of construction, the new resource Center was opened at 1907 Novato Blvd. The Center grew from assisting 50 families to more than 3,000 of Novato’s low-income children, adults and seniors, providing a full array of critical safety net services.