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.
Two watershed groups focusing on stream health and water quality in the Rivanna River basin of central Virginia committed to consolidating into a single organization after having shared a significant history of partnership with complementary missions and work efforts. The Rivanna Conservation Alliance was established as the result of the merger of the two organizations. A grant from The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration funded a portion of the one-time costs for the collaboration.
People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) is one of the largest homeless services organizations in the State of California, with 22 locations from as far south as San Diego to as far north as San Luis Obispo, along with a new location soon to be established in San Jose. PATH approached Casa Esperanza, a full-service residential wellness center for people experiencing homelessness in the City of Santa Barbara, to merge into one organization. The combined organization will allow for significant leveraging of resources so that the two agencies can have a more significant impact on homelessness in Santa Barbara than either agency could have alone. The SeaChange-Lodestar Fund for Nonprofit Collaboration provided an essential grant to offset a portion of the expenses associated with the merger.
Combined, the Arkansas Foodbank and Arkansas Rice Depot had more than 60 years of experience fighting hunger in Arkansas, one of the most food-insecure states in the nation. Realizing that they had compatible missions, complementary programs and unique strengths, a merger of the two organizations was a natural next step. The combined nonprofit has realized efficiencies in operations and allowed assets to be redeployed to better serve food insecure individuals, children and families in Arkansas. The Lodestar Foundation provided partial funding for a consultant to help with the design and delivery of a comprehensive and strategic integration plan.
A generation ago, Boston Harbor was miserably polluted, its 34 neglected harbor islands home to garbage and abandoned military bases. Thanks to decades of hard work led by the Boston Harbor Islands Alliance (BHIA) and The Boston Harbor Association (TBHA), the harbor and waterfront are now thriving, including a new Boston Harbor Island National Park. To build on their collective successes and meet new challenges brought on by sea level rise, BHIA and TBHA merged into a new organization. A SeaChange-Lodestar Fund grant supported the merger.
D-TRAC (Disaster Tracking Recovery Assistance Center), a Swiss-based NGO that seeks to coordinate the relief efforts of international NGOs addressing a national disaster, was working in Thailand after the 2004 tsunami. Lodestar provided support to D-TRAC in its coordination efforts.
Parent to Parent of Vermont (P2P) was a family support and advocacy organization with the mission to nurture and support families whose children have a chronic illness or disability, focusing on health information, medical education, and insurance support. Vermont Parent Information Center’s (VPIC) mission was to help ensure that parents of a child with a disability had a place to turn to when they needed information and support to advocate on behalf of their child’s education and quality of life. The two organizations merged to form the Vermont Family Network –- a one-stop shop for parents, families, children, and adults who have special needs to be effective advocates for their health, education, and well-being. The Lodestar Foundation provided a challenge grant to help fund the final integration expenses of the merger.
Both founded more than a decade ago by young people who wanted to be active world citizens, Global Youth Action Network (in New York City) and Taking IT Global (in Toronto, Canada) realized their organizations could be more effective by entering into a co-management agreement. A grant from Lodestar supported the collaboration.
One World Youth Project began in 2004 as a small project to connect two middle schools from different countries to solve common problems. Through an innovative collaboration with Georgetown University and School-2-School (a project of Millennium Promise and Columbia University’s Earth Institute), the project developed a model for scaling its program through university hubs and expanding its program to elementary schools. Lodestar’s grant supported the collaboration.
UMOM New Day Centers provides emergency shelter and transitional housing services to low-income families; Helping Hands Housing Services provided permanent affordable housing to the same population. Realizing that the full range of housing services could be more efficiently and effectively deployed through one organization, Helping Hands was merged into New Day. The Lodestar Foundation provided financial support for legal expenses and public relations costs associated with the merger.
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.
Both the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma and Dan Gable International Wrestling Museum in Waterloo, Iowa were dedicated to preserving and sharing the sport’s history and traditions. By working jointly, the two organizations could better educate and inspire future generations. A merger enabled management for both museums to be combined, with joint marketing, fundraising, promotion, and education. The Lodestar Foundation provided financial support for the costs of the merger.
Two chronic medical problems, diabetes and heart disease, impact a high percentage of south Phoenix residents. A dozen agencies working in the area joined together to form the South Central Phoenix Health Coalition to coordinate and integrate efforts to address these problems. A multi-year grant from Lodestar supported the salary of the Coalition coordinator. In addition to increasing effectiveness through the Coalition, the participating agencies developed collaborations in other service areas as a result of membership in the Coalition.
In order to comply with a federal mandate to collect certain data about homeless individuals, a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) was initiated in Maricopa County. For three years, Lodestar provided the lead private sector grant to secure more than $1,000,000 of federal funding for the project. Although the original purpose of HMIS was to relay unduplicated data to the federal government, the participating agencies used the nationally-honored system to more effectively deliver services by sharing information and tracking clients.
Several small youth-serving nonprofits were concerned that high operating costs made it difficult to provide adequate services to their clients. In 2003, with technical and financial support from Lodestar, they formed Partnership for Adolescent Resources through Training, Networking, Education, Referrals and Support (PARTNERS), an innovative management services organization to manage leased office space. For a period of five years, PARTNERS became the management and administration through which the combined agencies shared office space and certain administrative functions. Lodestar’s grant subsidized rent charges for the joint-usage space over the duration of the collaboration.
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.
Native Americans living in the Phoenix metropolitan area historically have been served by separate independent nonprofits; little progress was being made in addressing critical health and social issues facing that population. A group of five agencies serving off-reservation Native Americans in the metropolitan Phoenix area formed a new nonprofit corporation, United Native Development Corporation (“UNDC”), to focus on three specific issue areas: senior housing, student housing, and workforce development. Lodestar’s capacity building grant of $100,000, which provided seed money for the project, led to the receipt of additional operating funds for UNDC which, in turn, enabled UNDC to plan a senior housing project that received $4.4 million for development. More importantly, the original collaboration served as a catalyst for ongoing collaboration among the agencies on a variety of issues of mutual importance. Three of the agencies later formed a limited liability company to jointly purchase an 85,000 square foot office building for more than $7 million (totally financed by no-interest loans and grants). The facility is considered the “geographic center” for the area’s Native Americans, operating as a business, cultural and service center for that population. Not only are a variety of Native American businesses and nonprofits co-locating in the building, several of the nonprofits have formed a management services organization to combine administrative functions, creating yet another level of collaboration. In 2006, the project received a Community Revitalization Award, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.
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.
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.
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.