Community foundations hold a special place in philanthropy, operating at the intersection of the aspirations of those in need and those with the means to fuel positive change. In May 2014, 5 community foundations in New Mexico began an exploration to discuss new models of cooperation including a merger and/or a consolidation of operations. The Lodestar Foundation provided a grant to support the exploration.
When disaster strikes, relief efforts have been hampered by the lack of accurate communications with those directly affected by the disaster. Thus, Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) - a collaboration including such organizations as the British and Irish Red Cross agencies, Care International, Save the Children, Internews and other organizational relief and media development organizations - was formed (coincidentally just before the Haiti earthquake) with the mission of improving emergency response after natural disasters by mobilizing, coordinating and connecting local media with international relief efforts in times of crisis. CDAC played an instrumental role in the disasters in Haiti, Pakistan, and Chile. The Lodestar Foundation provided seed money for the project.
As a young, growing state, Arizona has the opportunity and challenge to create a statewide vision and strategic plan which both the public and private sectors can use as a guide for the allocation of resources and infrastructure development. The Center for the Future of Arizona, was formed to shepherd the strategic planning process for the state. Lodestar provided funds specifically reserved for convening citizen groups from around the state to discuss various elements of the state’s strategic plan.
Although there are approximately 400 NGOs working to support independent print, broadcast and internet media in the developing world, there had never been a substantive opportunity to share information and resources, either informally or through a cooperative association. The Lodestar Foundation provided initial seed implementation grants of $150,000 (which led to approximately $1,500,000 more in grants from other foundations) for the first collaborative conference of independent media support NGOs from around the world, the first Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD). The conference, which was held in Amman, Jordan, brought together approximately 500 participants representing 180 media support organizations from 104 countries. Since then, GFMD has become a permanent ongoing collaborative organization, with a secretariat office in Brussels and five regional operations around the world and The Lodestar Foundation has provided additional conference support.
Chris4Life was founded by Michael Sapienza following his mother’s death from colon cancer to serve as a national advocate to raise awareness and promote early screening of colorectal cancer. The Colon Cancer Foundation CCA was working to increase the rates of screening and survivorship from colorectal cancer. CCA and Chris4Life Sharing a belief that early detection and increased awareness are the key to fighting the disease, the two organizations decided to merge. A grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration partially funded the one-time costs associated with the merger.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In metropolitan areas, the efforts of different nonprofit organizations, or even different chapters of the same organization, may overlap. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago wished to merge and integrate with another regional chapter, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lake County. By merging, the two organizations could reduce redundant efforts, serve children and families more effectively, increase the size of the board, increase the number of communities served, and leverage the increased resources to expand the number of programs offered. A SeaChange-Lodestar grant provided support to facilitate the merger.
Article about the merger: Nonprofits missing the boat by not merging
The Volunteer Center of Maricopa County, which had supported volunteerism in the Valley since 1962, became unsure of its role in the community with the emergence of organizations with similar missions. A Lodestar a grant enabled the Center’s board of Directors to use a consultant to examine the Center’s most efficient course of action for the future. At the end of the study, the board concluded that promotion of volunteerism and coordination of volunteer services within the community could be accomplished effectively by other community organizations, and the Center dissolved. Lodestar provided additional financial support for the relocation of volunteer-based services to other nonprofits.
Vast population growth and increasing cultural diversity led to operational and programmatic inefficiencies for Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona (PPCNA) and Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona (PPSA), both providers of medical services and educational programs. They faced challenges from outdated information systems, coupled with geographic sprawl throughout Arizona. After examining their internal structures, the two organizations decided to merge, forming one single organizational entity, Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPAZ), with localized service centers. Lodestar’s grant for systems integration allowed PPAZ to share databases internally and have one joint website to serve patients more efficiently regardless of the health center they use.
Brewster Center Domestic Violence Services and Tucson Centers for Women and Children were two of the largest organizations in Tucson serving abused women and children. The organizations had similar missions and provided some of the same services, but neither organization had the full program of services their clients needed, so clients of one organization often had to utilize the other organization's services as well. In 2008, the organizations merged and became Emerge! Center Against Domestic Violence. The merger resulted in a one-stop shop for victims of domestic violence in Tucson, thus eliminating duplication of services and wasteful spending, and increasing direct services to program participants. Lodestar provided funds to support the integration of the newly-formed organization.
Although at least a dozen adoption and foster care agencies in the metropolitan Phoenix area handle special needs children, there was no central place where adoptive and foster parents could find post-adoption support, information and services. One of the agencies, Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK, www.aask-az.org), proposed the creation of an agency-independent resource center and public/private collaboration dedicated to connecting adoptive, foster care, kinship and guardianship families to resources, support, education and each other. This led to the creation of The Lodestar Family Connections Center at AASK (www.familyconnectionscenter.org). Although no longer operating as a physical one-stop-shop, participating agencies formed a joint website to coordinate services for foster care.
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.
The Infant Toddler Mental Health Coalition (ITMHC), a professional organization comprised of individuals working in the youth mental health profession, recognized there were no reliable standards for infant and family service providers in Arizona. ITMHC developed an endorsement program, adapted from a Michigan competency-based system, to serve as verification that a mental health professional has attained a specified level of functioning and understanding. Lodestar's funds enabled the organization to purchase the initial license and to fund participants in the first year of the program who then became endorsers themselves.
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.
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.
The Lodestar Foundation provided a challenge grant for a consultant to help the Southern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers and Northern California Grantmakers associations to explore strategic collaboration opportunities.
Announcing Philanthropy California
Lodestar provided financial support for a consultant to facilitate a collaboration process between The Arizona Science Center and Children’s Museum of Phoenix to explore ways to increase the value they can provide to each museum’s individual audience and to collectively better serve the greater Phoenix community.