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.
The Lodestar Foundation supported an initiative of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix to convene more than 40 local congregations and organizations in small groups to explore ways of working together. Lodestar funding provided support to hire a consultant to facilitate the sessions.
Fractured Atlas and the Future of Music Coalition, two artist-oriented nonprofit organizations, sought to explore the possibility of creating a jointly-managed arts research and policy institute whose work would seek to harmonize cultural and technological policies. The prospective institute would have analyzed public policy, conducted and published research on issues such as new media distribution channels and artist revenue streams, and provided guidance to organizations seeking to mobilize advocacy for the cultural sector. The exploration resulted in a decision to not proceed with the collaboration at this time. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration provided support for the consultant costs associated with exploring a possible partnership.
Because many arts organizations in the Phoenix area lack sufficient marketing funds, the nonprofit Alliance for Audience was formed to provide joint marketing services to a collaboration of performing arts groups. Three Lodestar Foundation grants helped expand the Alliance’s reach by enhancing its website and designing and implementing a marketing plan. Notwithstanding community efforts to sustain the organization, Alliance for Audience shut its doors in October 2012.
Three Phoenix-based arts organizations – The Phoenix Symphony, Ballet Arizona and the Arizona Opera – partnered to purchase Tessitura, a fully-integrated software system for joint use. Designed especially for arts organizations, the software system manages ticketing, subscriptions and box office operations as well as fundraising and marketing activities. As part of the partnership, the three groups agreed to cross-market their organizations to their respective patrons and to the public. A Lodestar Foundation grant helped to purchase the software system.
Two news organizations dedicated to daily in-depth news and analysis of school politics, policy and research, New York-based Gotham Schools and Denver-based EdNews Colorado, merged in 2012 to create the Chalkbeat. While both had risen to the position of being “the source” for education-related news in their respective communities, individually they were sub-scale and faced significant challenges operating as stand-alone entities. Together, they were able to attract national funders with the goal of expanding into additional local markets. A grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration helped fund merger-related expenses.
Five literacy organizations in Tucson, Ariz. – The Literacy for Life Coalition, Literacy Volunteers of Tucson, Reach Out and Read Southern Arizona, Reading Seed and Stories that Soar – merged to become a powerful champion of literacy in all its forms. Separately, each organization operated on a small budget with limited staff and administrative systems. Together the merged organizations – now named Literacy Connects – are able to develop robust systems and processes, reduce overall administrative expenses, serve as a powerful advocate for literacy projects in the region and offer integrated programming in the promotion of literacy from birth through adulthood. The Lodestar Foundation provided funding for the merger.
Due to the close proximity of Habitat for Humanity Seattle/South King County and Habitat for Humanity East King County, the two organizations were often confused for one another and competed for the same financial support. Leaders of both Habitat for Humanity affiliates realized the potential benefits of merging operations to better serve their residents and maximize their impact. A grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund helped retain a consultant to facilitate the merger exploratory process from organizing an initial steering meeting to preparing a final recommendation. In 2012 the organizations merged to form Habitat for Humanity Seattle – King County.
With the impending retirement of its veteran executive director, Our Family Services’ board of directors identified the executive director of New Beginnings for Women and Children as an ideal successor candidate for the position. Seeing an opportunity to create a continuum of services for the Tucson community by merging the two nonprofits’ complementary housing and support services, the organizations merged. A challenge grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration helped support merger-related costs.
Reading Partners, a national literacy program headquartered in Oakland, Calif., wanted to expand into the after-school market and was looking to partner with an after-school program that had a strong literacy-focused curriculum. Reading Partners was attracted to Mission Learning Center’s community-based after-school literacy program and acquired the organization. The acquisition offered programmatic benefits to both organizations. Reading Partners created after-school programs that used curricula developed with components of Mission Learn Center’s creative program and Mission Learning Center utilized Reading Partners’ highly-efficient AmeriCorps staffing modeling while continuing to serve its community. A SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration grant helped finance costs associated with the acquisition.