Mesa Developmental Services changes its name to Strive

CEO Jeff Nichols addresses the crowd during Thursday’s annoucement that Mesa Developmental Services is rebranding itself as Strive during a gathering at Two Rivers Convention Center.

Mesa Developmental Services is now Strive.

The 47-year-old organization decided to begin work on changing its name nearly two years ago after its board of directors and leadership team concluded the MDS name had become outdated. Strive Chief Executive Officer Jeff Nichols said at a news conference announcing the change Thursday at Two Rivers Convention Center that the old name no longer reflected the growing number of services they offer to both people with developmental disabilities, which are disabilities acquired by age 21, and people with disabilities acquired as an adult.

“We serve people from birth through end-of-life with a wide spectrum of needs,” Nichols said. The MDS name “was often misunderstood and didn’t serve the broad spectrum of what we provide.”

In addition to confusing community members about which clients the nonprofit serves, Nichols said the name Mesa Developmental Services led some people to confuse the organization with an economic or oil and gas development company.

The new name is more modern and streamlined, Strive Board of Directors President Jeff Parker said.

“It represents the more than 750 individuals ... who strive themselves to be independent,” Parker said, describing Strive’s clients.

Strive spokeswoman Marilee Langfitt said the organization will try to keep the name-change process as revenue-neutral as possible by doing as much work as possible internally, including changing letterhead electronically and using board input instead of a consultant to inform the name change. Advertisements featuring the new name will be part of the company’s regular advertising budget, Langfitt said.

The one area Strive expects to spend more money, she said, is in changing signs outside Strive’s five locations. MDS signs will be swapped for Strive signs incrementally, with the first sign unveiled Thursday at the 950 Grand Ave. building.


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