Philanthropic Innovation: Small Grant – Large Merger

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May 17, 2011; Source: Columbus Business First | In December of 2009 the Columbus Foundation, Dayton Foundation, and Toledo Community Foundation awarded six grants from its Fund for Financial Restructuring. Those six were drawn from a competitive pool of 81 applicants. The entire amount of the grants awarded from the pool at that time was $246,000.

Among those receiving grants of $36,500 was the Columbus Aids Task Force which had been toying with the prospect of merging with other AIDS service organizations as funding began to get tight. The organization had previously lost $500,000 in funding and laid off a number of staff.

The newly-awarded grant paid for a year-long feasibility study for the Task Force and the group announced yesterday that it has voted to merge with AIDS Resource Center Ohio, a move which leaves the new organization covering 70 percent of the state’s service needs. ARC Ohio’s CEO will move into the top job while the executive at the Columbus AIDS Task Force will take on all program operations.

Nice collaboration on the part of these foundations and we’d love to know the rest of the story. What happened to the other grants? Were they as successful? Did these three foundations – seeing the need – go another round?—Ruth McCambridge

  • Jenn Miller

    Thanks for sharing this story of a successful merger and funder’s collaborative. Our foundation, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, recently published an article highlighting five stories of organizations that have merged, lessons learned and implications for funders. You can check it out here: