October 11, 2010; Source: Columbus Business First | Sometimes the only thing standing in the way of nonprofits merging is the will to do it. So for all the bad things we can say about the havoc the recession has wreaked, one positive might be the motivation it’s providing to get organizations that do similar work to think more closely about pairing up.

For instance, recognizing the benefits of hooking up, Goodwill Columbus and United Cerebral Palsy of Central Ohio this week said they plan to merge. The two groups have been discussing this step for about a year—initiated by United Cerebral Palsy, which was struggling to find money to stay afloat, according to Columbus Business First. The merger process is expected to get underway early next year.

However, Goodwill Columbus CEO Margie Pizzuti said staff is “already preparing for the transition, which we are confident will be seamless for the participants.” In addition to erasing United Cerebral Palsy’s money woes, the merger provides a more efficient way for Goodwill to expand its programs. For starters, it will serve the 75 people currently in programs United Cerebral Palsy offers.

Still to be determined is how many of its new partner’s employees will be given jobs at Goodwill. The Columbus Foundation underwrote the merger study and United Way of Central of Central Ohio also contributed funds to the effort.—Bruce Trachtenberg