Leveraging Philanthropy and Collaboration

The Lodestar Foundation seeks to expand the overall capacity of the social sector by promoting philanthropy, volunteering, public service, nonprofit collaboration and other business practices.

Our Grants

Merger of Social Service Media Organizations

Like PCI-Media Impact, Media for Health used storytelling as an avenue to affect social change. Media for Health, however, focused its content solely on U.S.-distributed radio programs, while the larger PCI-Media Impact produced multi-media programs for 30 countries. In 2012, PCI-Media Impact acquired Media for Health. The mutually-beneficial acquisition allowed PCI-Media Impact to expand its domestic programming and provided stability and the opportunity for growth of Media for Health’s programs. A SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration grant supported expenses related to the acquisition.

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Merger of Two Community Theaters

While the Barksdale Theatre at Hanover Tavern and Theatre IV had shared management, artistic staff and performance spaces since 2001, they continued to operate as separate nonprofit organizations, which resulted in several duplications of efforts. In 2012 the organizations merged, not only to address the inefficiencies of maintaining multiple Web sites, audit processes and marketing efforts but also to strengthen its fundraising capacity and the community’s recognition of its impact. The newly formed Virginia Repertory Theatre combined the Barksdale Theatre’s adult classical and contemporary offerings and Theatre IV’s education and youth programs. A grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund was used to support one-time expenses associated with the merger.

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Merger of Two Youth-Serving Nonprofits

In 2012, Good Shepherd Services and Groundwork, two New York City nonprofit organizations serving youth and children, merged. The merger enabled the highly respected and significantly larger Good Shepherd Services to expand its programs into East New York, one of the most distressed areas of New York City, where Groundwork operated. In addition, Good Shepherd Services’ high-functioning leadership team and its management systems stabilized the smaller and younger Groundwork’s programs. A grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund helped fund the merger.

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Merger of United Way Affiliates

Battle Creek, Mich., and Kalamazoo, Mich., are closely linked communities located within 30 miles of each other. Many of their residents live in one town and commute to work in the other. Their major employers are active in both communities. Social issues and the agencies addressing them also straddle their boundaries. These demographic changes have made the borders between the United Way of Greater Battle Creek and Greater Kalamazoo United Way irrelevant and, at times, problematic, causing them to compete for donors. The two agencies decided to merge to better serve their communities and generate a greater regional impact while simultaneously achieving significant annual administrative cost savings. A challenge grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund helped fund the merger that formed the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region.

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Merger of Workforce Re-entry Programs for Ex-Felons and Recovering Addicts

Project for Pride in Living Enterprises and Rebuild Resources were both nonprofit organizations helping recovering addicts and ex-felons from the St. Paul and Minneapolis area re-enter the workforce. When Rebuild Resources’ long-time CEO resigned, the two organizations began to explore the possibility of merging their operations. Benefits of the merger included a more efficient balance of the staff-to-clients ratio, aligned fundraising strategies, administrative cost savings and eliminated competition for donors between the organizations. The merged entity took the name Momentum Enterprises. A SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration challenge grant provided funding restricted to merger-related expenses.

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Merger Resulting from Co-Location of Abuse Victim Organizations

In 2010, two Long Island-based nonprofit organizations working with abuse victims – the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse and Violence and the Coalition Against Child Abuse and Neglect – co-located to better serve their clients. Co-location resulted in programmatic synergy, co-trainings and greater information sharing. With programmatic collaboration already in place, the two organizations’ boards decided that by merging they could also produce long-term operational efficiencies by combining administration functions and systems. A grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration helped the newly formed Safe Center LI finance costs associated with the merger.

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Multi-Tenant Nonprofit Centers

The Nonprofit Centers Network (NCN) supports the development and operation of multi-tenant nonprofit centers and shared-service arrangements. Lodestar has provided substantial support over the years to increase the capacity of NCN to advise and inform the sector about shared-space and shared-service projects.  The NCN 2011 Impact Assessment Study, underwritten by the Lodestar Foundation in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, demonstrated that shared nonprofit spaces and services yield significant efficiencies and impact and that shared spaces often become homes for new and important collaborations.  In 2012, the Lodestar Foundation, again in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, provided a three-year grant to NCN to expand marketing, training and new product development. Additional grants have helped NCN expand both resources and programming.

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Charter Management Organization to Strengthen Cleveland Charter Schools

Three independent Cleveland charter schools – Citizens Academy, The Intergenerational Schools and E Prep – established Breakthrough Charter Schools, a charter management organization, in 2010. This central entity both streamlined the schools’ operations by providing consolidated administrative, marketing and fundraising functions and positioned the operation to receive national funding (a $2 million grant was obtained soon after the partnership formed). A SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration challenge grant provided funding for partnership-related expenses.

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Creation of a Nonprofit Collaboration Database

The Lodestar Foundation created and funded the development, implementation and enhancement of the Foundation Center's Nonprofit Collaboration Database, housed at the Foundation Center’s Collaboration Hub, a portal that contains case studies, podcasts, videos, and resources on collaborations, mergers, and joint programming. The Nonprofit Collaboration Database is a fully-searchable database that provides information on more than 650 collaborations, most of which were applicants for the Collaboration Prize contests. The database serves as the primary sector resource for models of nonprofit collaboration.

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Exploration of Possible Collaborations to Strengthen Programs

Arizona Women’s Education & Employment, Inc. (AWEE) and Fresh Start Women’s Foundation both work to empower women through providing education and employment services. As like-missioned entities, the two organizations wished to explore the possibility of merging. The Lodestar Foundation provided a grant to hire a consultant to lead AWEE and Fresh Start through the collaboration exploration process; the organizations ultimately decided not to merge.

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Merger of Dance Company and Dance Facility

The New York City-based Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company sought a permanent home and estimated that it would cost $30 million to purchase and renovate a facility. Dance Theater Workshop, a New York City-based center for the development and presentation of contemporary dance and performance, conversely, had a dance facility but was looking for a co-tenant to help defray their venue-related costs. While initial discussions centered on a long-term tenancy arrangement, the two nonprofit arts organizations ultimately merged to form New York Live Arts in 2011. A primary goal of the merger was to achieve long-term financial stability for the organizations not only through sharing a venue but also by reducing administrative overlap and launching a blended capital campaign. A grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund provided support for one-time costs associated with the merger.

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Merger of Wildlife Advocacy Nonprofits

The Center for Native Ecosystems and Colorado Wild, two Colorado-based nonprofit conservation organizations that worked on issues related to wildlife, biodiversity and habitat protection in the state, had previously collaborated on preserving wildlife corridors. The organizations targeted their work on different geographic areas: the Center for Native Ecosystems concentrated its efforts on Bureau of Land Management lands while Colorado Wild focused on National Forest lands. In 2011 the organizations merged and became Rocky Mountain Wild. Now the largest organization in the field of wildlife, biodiversity and habitat protection in Colorado, the merged organization has greater resources to recruit members and advocate on behalf of pro-conservation legislation. The Lodestar Foundation provided the organizations a challenge grant to raise funds for one-time merger-related expenses.

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Merger to Facilitate Growth of Mentoring Programs

Arizona Quest for Kids and Greater Phoenix Youth at Risk both provided mentoring and enrichment programs for at-risk Arizona students. In 2010, the two organizations, which had similar missions and visions, began to explore merging their operations in order to provide enhanced services to their communities and constituents. The Lodestar Foundation made two grants to help fund merger services. Funds from the first grant were used to complete research and analysis for a merger assessment. The second grant funded the facilitation and implementation of the merger plan; the merged organizations became New Pathways for Youth.

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Prison Program Transfer to Women?s Job Training Agency

Women Living Free, a newly-formed agency providing women leaving the Arizona prison system with tools and support to break the recidivism cycle, was having difficulty developing the infrastructure to survive as an independent agency. Arizona Women's Education and Employment, Inc. (AWEE), a well-established women's job-training organization that had been providing program support to Women Living Free, absorbed the Women Living Free program, with Lodestar underwriting the acquisition costs and the subsequent dissolution of Women Living Free. By integrating the successful Women Living Free program into the strong AWEE infrastructure, AWEE was able to quickly become expert in the field and secure millions of grant dollars for the program.

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Exploration of Formalizing Network of Women?s Organizations

The Women, Faith, and Development Alliance is a unique partnership of internationally focused faith, development, and women’s organizations dedicated to increasing investments for women’s and girls’ empowerment around the world and for reducing global poverty. Co-convened by the InterAction Commission on the Advancement of Women, Religions for Peace, Women Thrive Worldwide, and the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty, the WFDA sought to formalize a structure that would enable its constituent organizations to most effectively work together. Lodestar funded a consultant to help guide how the four co-conveners could work together.

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Integration of Services for Seniors

By integrating many distinctive services into a single centralized location, senior centers such as Tanglewood Park make it easier for seniors to access the specific services and programs they need. This unique multi-agency senior services and activity center houses four separate health and human services agencies. By exploring potential models for collaboration, Tanglewood Park sought to develop an organizational framework for long-term ownership and management that would enable the four agencies to share space and staff efficiently in order to implement a shared vision and ensure long-term sustainability of the center. Lodestar provided a grant that enabled Tanglewood Park to organize a formal exploration of models that would enable the multiple agencies to collaborate effectively in order to provide seniors continued access to “one-stop shopping” for care and services.

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Merger of Domestic Violence Advocacy Organizations

As the membership and advocacy organization of the 56 state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) was the leading voice for domestic violence victims and their allies, providing training and technical assistance, furthering public awareness, and advocating for legislation and funding. Founded in 2000 in Brooklyn, WomensLaw was a web-based resource dedicated to providing easy-to-understand, state-specific legal information and tools such as an email helpline, to those living with or escaping domestic violence. In merging WomensLaw into NNEDV, the merged organization was able to provide authoritative legal expertise and direct and indirect services through the web.

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Merger of Jewish Peace Nonprofits

Lodestar provided the lead grant to facilitate a merger between Brit Tzedek v’Shalom (the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace), a grass-roots network of U.S. supporters of Middle East peace, and J Street Education Fund, a nonprofit devoted to promoting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The integration of Brit Tzedek into J Street provides J Street with a national network of locally-based chapters supporting a peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict, increasing the opportunity for J Street to be more strategic and effective in helping to facilitate support for peace.  

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Merger of Maine Maritime Museums

Portland Harbor Museum and the larger Maine Maritime Museum decided to merge to better manage collections and memberships.   By sharing collections, programming and staff, the merged museum could reach larger audiences, diversify exhibits, and strategically position the museum to be financially sustainable.  A grant from SeaChange-Lodestar supported the merger.

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