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Merger Prescription Getting Old
Dec 1, 2009; WFAE.org | Faced with mounting budget problems, the Mecklenburg County, North Carolina county commission and Manager Harry Jones asked the Council on Aging and Mecklenburg County Senior Centers to consider merging, since both get hundreds of thousands of dollars from the county each year. As long as we can remember there have been vocal advocates for having mergers happen among nonprofits. Many times these promoters are funders and sometimes they try to force the issue. In Mecklenburg County these two elder serving nonprofits have managed to stave off such pressures by doing their own study about the losses and gains that might reasonably be expected to be derived from a merger of the two agencies. The two organizations who have been pushed in this direction before by the United Way decided to do the study to make the discussion more fact based. The study found that savings were minimal and risks, particularly to the group focused on senior advocacy were high. County Commissioner, Jennifer Roberts, a vocal advocate of mergers over the years, conceded that the study was well done and has now moved on to other things—the promotion of mergers among after school programs.—Aaron Lester
Nonprofits and for profits compete—who wins?
Dec 1, 2009; WMU News | At least in the realm of managing charter and public schools, this recent study of education management organizations by a Western Michigan University professor shows that for-profit management companies are growing very slowly relative to the faster clip of nonprofit companies in the same space. Our own Nonprofit Ethicist, Woods Bowman, has proposed a way to sort where for-profits may dominate a field and where nonprofits might dominate. Maybe we can convince him to run it in our pages.—Ruth McCambridge
Foundation Executive Answers Questions from New York Times Readers
Nov 30, 2009; New York Times | Have you ever wanted to sit down alone with a Foundation executive? Do you ever wish you had a direct line to the one in charge of the money? If you read the New York Times lately, you did. Sort of. The Times recently ran a three-part series with questions from readers for Laurie Slutsky of New York Community Trust (Part 1, part 2, and part 3). Readers posed questions from the practical and basic, such as how foundations feel about groups who apply for funding with a strategic plan in place and what the point of metrics is, to the more philosophical about the purpose of community philanthropy in democracy. Slutsky takes a stab at why foundation staff members are paid high salaries. And one astute reader caught a mistake in the NY Trusts published assets from 1990. Did the earth shatter when I read this? No. Should you read it? Yes.—Kristin Barrali