The Center for Investigative Reporting, the nation’s oldest, independent nonprofit focused on investigative journalism, and The Bay Citizen, a more recently-formed, entrepreneurial, web-based nonprofit focused on local coverage, merged in April 2012 to form the nation’s largest nonprofit organization devoted to investigative and accountability reporting with one of the largest data and technology teams in journalism. The merger has enabled the Bay Citizen, which retains its brand, to expand its coverage to include national and international news. The Lodestar Foundation provided funding for a consultant to develop a plan to successfully integrate their systems and organizational cultures upon merging their operations as well as for one-time costs associated with implementing the merger.
Lakeview Action Coalition (LAC) and the Organization of the Northeast (ONE) were community organizing nonprofits working in adjacent neighborhoods in the north-side of Chicago. As the geographic distinction between their focus neighborhoods became increasingly blurred, the two organizations began exploring a merger to streamline operations given the entities’ similar missions, cultures and approaches to their work. Merger discussions gained urgency when ONE’s executive director announced her plans to resign. Since LAC’s executive director was a natural successor, the two organizations decide to formally merge, taking the name ONE Northside. A SeaChange-Lodestar Nonprofit Collaboration Fund grant helped cover the expenses associated with the merger’s implementation.
Belle Center of Chicago and Aspire were two Chicago-based organizations that worked with people with developmental disabilities. Aspire, the larger organization of the two, focused on adults and its services were located primarily in Chicago’s suburbs, while the smaller Belle Center served children and their families largely in the city. The merger allowed the two organizations with different programming strengths and geographic emphasis to create a more comprehensive program serving a larger community. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration provided the organizations with an initial grant to explore the possibility of a merger and a second grant to help fund one-time expenses associated with the merger.
With the impending retirement of its executive director, Easter Seals of Nebraska began talks with the Visiting Nurse Association of Omaha regarding forming an alliance. Through their exploration process, the two organizations determined that a merger would be mutually beneficial. Easter Seals became a division of the larger Visiting Nurse Association, eliminating the need to hire a new executive director. The merger also provided the Visiting Nurse Association with an avenue to expand its services beyond Omaha’s borders. The combined entity realized significant cost savings through the consolidation of the chief executive role, administrative efficiencies and shared office space. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund provided a challenge grant to facilitate the merger.
The Lakes Community Health Center and the North Woods Community Health Center were both small healthcare providers serving low-income, rural communities across several Wisconsin counties. With overlapping patient and donor bases as well as complementary programs, the two organizations decided to merge to improve staffing efficiencies. The merger of two health centers improved staff-to-patient ratios, eliminated the competition among the two entities for highly-qualified medical professionals and filled a leadership void created by North Woods Community Health Center’s executive director’s retirement. The merged entity, the Northlakes Community Clinic, has also been able to expand services to its sites and invest more in its infrastructure. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund provided a challenge grant to support one-time expenses related to the merger.
Blue Planet Network (BPN) is a web-based platform to support and promote clean water projects around the world, providing its more than 100 member institutions with access to water and sanitation experts, a forum to share best practices, and technology that allows funders to support and monitor clean water projects. As BPN’s most active member, East Meets West (EMW), had used the platform to design many of its clean water projects. Seeking to expand its water programs and technology, EMW approached BPN to explore a partnership. Given EMW’s strong donor base and BPN’s interest in enhancing its platform, the two organizations decided to merge. A SeaChange-Lodestar Nonprofit Collaboration Fund grant helped finance costs associated with the implementation of the merger.
Using experience-based programs to promote environmental education and community engagement, Hazon and the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Centre have been connected for many years through their complementary programs and many common participants. Seeking to expand their programs and invest in capacity, they explored the benefits of collaborating and ultimately merged to deepen the impact of their programs and increase the scale of organizational infrastructure. The merged entity, which took the name Hazon, received a challenge grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration to support expenses related to the merger.
The Support Center for Nonprofit Management was a New York City-based technical assistance provider that sought to expand its service area into New Jersey. Rather than establishing a new office, it surveyed the landscape of existing technical assistance providers in the area and decided to pursue a merger with Partners in Philanthropy, which specialized in fundraising assistance. The two entities merged in 2012 and assumed the name the Support Center for Nonprofit Management | Partners in Philanthropy. The merger not only expanded the organization’s geographic reach but also streamlined operations and enabled the organization to offer a broader range of products and services. A challenge grant provided by the SeaChange-Lodestar Nonprofit Collaboration Fund helped finance costs associated with the implementation of the merger.
Everybody Wins, a literacy program that brings volunteers to the classroom, was created in New York City in 1999. Over the years, Everybody Wins affiliates were established across the country and run independently. In 2006 a national organization – Everybody Wins USA – was formed to provide standardized practices and generate national awareness for the affiliates. Several of the local affiliates with modest annual operating budgets – Los Angeles, Miami, Hartford and Minnesota – decided to merge with the national organization to streamline administrative functions and achieve greater operational efficiencies. A SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration challenge grant helped fund merger-related expenses.
Facing funding cuts to their programs, the East Bay Asian Youth Center and Oakland Asian Students Educational Services, youth service and community development organizations that served diverse minority and immigrant populations in Oakland’s San Antonio and Chinatown neighborhoods respectively, decided to merge. The due diligence process for the merger found several benefits for merging the entities including cost savings through administrative consolidation, improved fundraising through a reallocation of resources, and creation of a continuum of programs for their clients. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund provided a challenge grant to support one-time costs related to the merger.
In July 2013, the Sacramento Philharmonic and the Sacramento Opera merged their organizations to form the Sacramento Regional Performing Arts Alliance. The merger, which was designed to enable both entities to benefit from efficiencies and economies of scale to ensure their long-term artistic and financial health, helped to preserve the two institutions, which were experiencing financial challenges due to the recession and decreasing societal participation in the arts. In this combined structure, both the Philharmonic and the Opera operate independently on an artistic front, but are housed in the same facility and work together administratively. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund provided funding to support one-time implementation expenses related to the merger.
In 2011, the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI), a nonprofit that offers support services to parents in the form of support groups, education and information resources, decided that the best course of action to expand its programs and deepen its advocacy efforts was to merge with a larger organization. After an intensive process, the organization decided to merge with Jewish Guild Healthcare, an organization with extensive experience serving the visually impaired. In 2012, NAPVI became a subsidiary of Jewish Guild Healthcare. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration helped fund one-time costs associated with the merger.
Serving neighboring Illinois’ communities, the Neighborhood Housing Service of Freeport and the Rockford Area Affordable Housing Coalition provided similar services in their towns designed to help community members purchase their own homes and had successfully collaborated on programming for several years. Based on their shared vision of creating a greater impact in the region, the two organizations merged to streamline operations with a goal for the merged entity to expand its program from four counties to ten. In addition, the merged organization, now named HomeStart, was able to expand its policy and advocacy influence as well as leverage the expertise of its combined leadership to win contracts for affordable housing units. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration provided a challenge grant to fund implementation expenses of the merger.
In 2012, the Arizona Rural Development Council went dormant due to lack of funding. Wanting to continue the Council’s programs, the Council’s board decided to merge with Local First Arizona Foundation, which already worked on business development in 13 rural areas and looked to expand its programs throughout the state. The merger strengthened Local First Arizona Foundation’s services and volunteer leadership in rural areas and enabled the Council’s programming to continue. A Lodestar Foundation grant provided support for one-time expenses related to the implementation of the merger.
Phoenix Business Journal article on the merger
Person-to-Person and Christian Community Action were two small, volunteer-driven organizations serving adjacent communities in Connecticut. Christian Community Action sought to expand its program but found that the costs to scale it were too high and decided instead to approach Person-to-Person about the possibility of merging. At the time Person-to-Person was actively seeing opportunities to grow its food pantry program, which had a delivery model used successfully by Christian Community Action. The two entities merged in 2012 retaining the name Person-to-Person. A SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration challenge grant supported merger implementation costs.
Housing First, a small affordable housing development organization that owned and managed 22 housing units in Juneau, Alaska, faced the prospect of closing its doors and putting families in need out on the street as federal and state funding for affordable housing steadily declined. In order to continue serving people in need, Housing First sought to merge with a larger community development organization. In 2013, Housing First merged with the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Juneau, which operates one of the largest affordable housing portfolios in the city. In addition to keeping Housing First’s 22 affordable housing units in operation, the merger resulted in significant annual cost efficiencies from shared management of the housing portfolios. Funding from a SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration grant supported merger expenses.
Four District of Columbia-based elementary charter schools – Latin Montessori Bilingual, Elsie Whitlow Stokes, Mundo Verde and Washington Yu Ying – offer rigorous educational programs that include foreign language immersion and curriculum based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme. Unfortunately, the schools’ graduates had no opportunity to continue their IB curriculum or language immersion programs in District of Columbia middle or high schools. Initially, each of the four charter elementary schools explored creating their own middle and high school programs to provide their students continued advanced learning opportunities. In a unique collaboration, the schools instead decided to join forces to create and jointly-run the District of Columbia International School (DCI), a middle/high school that will serve the children graduating from the four founding elementary schools. A grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration helped fund costs associated with launching DCI.
Given diminishing federal support, seven national organizations providing assistance to victims of crime convened to discuss ways the organizations can collaborate more effectively to better serve the victims of crimes. The Lodestar Foundation supported the retention of a consultant to facilitate the convening.
In 2011, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness and the Emergency Fund combined its leadership, offices and energies in the fight against homelessness to create a single system for delivering housing assistance and services to the city of Chicago. The partners formed All Chicago and work together to connect 84 human service agencies, play an integral role in implementing Chicago’s Plan to End Homelessness and serve as a powerful advocacy force for Chicago’s homeless. A SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration challenge grant supported costs associated with forming the partnership.
The Lodestar Foundation supported the retention of a consultant to facilitate a separate convening of key organizations working in the global water and sanitation sector to develop ways to collaborate using mobile phone technology for data collection and dissemination.