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

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.

Grant Amount
$14,400

Merger of Mental Health/Substance Abuse Nonprofits

After having worked together on various partnerships for 15 years, Birmingham Group Health Services and Harbor Health Services, two nonprofit organizations that provided mental health and substance abuse services in Greater New Haven, Conn., merged in 2012 to form BHcare. The merger improved efficiency enabled greater programmatic scope and scale. A challenge grant from the SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration supported expenses related to the merger.

Grant Amount
$73,750

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.

Grant Amount
$80,000

Collaboration to More Efficiently Combat Homelessness in Chicago

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.

Grant Amount
$90,000

Merger of Developmental Disabilities Organizations

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.

Grant Amount
$12,500

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.

Grant Amount
$16,250

Merger of Small Affiliates into Their National Organization to Achieve Efficiencies

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.

Grant Amount
$20,000

Merger of Literacy Organizations for National Impact

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.

Grant Amount
$35,000

Charter School Collaboration to Create a Joint High School

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.

Grant Amount
$35,000

Merger of Homeless Prevention Programs

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.

Grant Amount
$35,000

Merger of International Clean Water Nonprofits

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.

Grant Amount
$5,000

Merger of Community Organizing Nonprofits

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.

Grant Amount
$8,000

Merger of Nonprofit Technical Support Organizations

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.

Grant Amount
$25,000

Exploration of Partnership Between Domestic Violence Organizations

With similar missions of helping women and children affected by domestic violence and/or homelessness, Homeward Bound and the Sojourner Center entered into discussions regarding the potential of a long-term collaboration to better serve their clients. Through the potential partnership the organizations sought to deliver enhanced services to their clients, expand the continuum of care to clients of both organizations, and increase the impact on the communities they serve. A Lodestar Foundation grant provided funding to retain a consultant to facilitate the collaboration exploration process. The two organizations ultimately decided not to pursue a collaboration.

Grant Amount
$30,000

Merger to Expand Community Assistance

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.

Grant Amount
$15,000

Merger to Expand Affordable Housing

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.

Grant Amount
$20,000

Acquisition of Economic Opportunity Program

Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan campaign working to expand economic opportunity and close the opportunity gap in America, is a program of the nonprofit Be the Change but operates largely as an independent entity. America’s Promise, a national movement working to help millions of young people achieve their full potential, had an interest in acquiring the program from Be the Change, as the two programs share common attributes. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration provided support for the consultant costs associated with exploring a possible acquisition of the program. Ultimately, the entities decided not move forward with the acquisition.

Grant Amount
$10,000

Merger of Jewish Environmental Organizations

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.

Grant Amount
$12,000

Creation of Association for Greater Leverage

There are 63 Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs) operating 600 sites in New York State serving 1.7 million patients, with half of the clinics in New York City.  A group of nine FQHCs in New York State are working together to create an Independent Practice Association (IPA), an association of physicians and primary healthcare providers that will allow them to jointly negotiate rates and more efficiently bill Managed Care Organizations for services provided.  The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration provided a grant to help cover facilitation fees. 

Grant Amount
$15,000

Merger of Youth Media Nonprofits

YouthNoise focused on empowering youth to have a voice on national and international issues through technology. Link Media ran a 24-hour television network dedicated to providing Americans with global perspectives on news, events and culture. The two organizations determined that Link Media’s technology and news content could complement YouthNoise’s emphasis on activism, and that they could accomplish more together by encouraging youth civic engagement and community service through the integration of television, web and mobile technologies. Lodestar provided financial support for the merger of YouthNoise into Link Media.

Grant Amount
$50,000