Cleveland-Area Nonprofits Merge to Reduce Costs

Faced with a challenging economic environment, eight human services organizations in the Greater Cleveland area have announced that they will merge or affiliate as a way to cut costs, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

According to the Plain Dealer, the new partnerships reflect a growing trend among nonprofits struggling to trim expenses and prepare for further cuts in government funding while trying to boost giving from cash-strapped donors. The local Funders Collaborative, a group of eighteen foundations led by Deaconess Community Foundation president and CEO Deborah Vesy and Saint Luke's Foundation president and CEO Denise San Antonio Zeman, brought the organizations together during the recent economic downturn. Nearly all employees of the eight organizations were retained in the mergers, said officials.

The largest partnership is the merger between the Center for Families and Children, which has a $23 million budget and 325 full-time employees, and the West Side Ecumenical Ministry, which has an $8.7 million budget and 132 employees. According to the Plain Dealer, the organizations were drawn to each other because they provide similar services to low-income families and offer Head Start programs that may be at risk in the next round of state and federal budget cuts. In addition, three other partnerships are in process.

"There's strength in numbers," said Center for Families and Children president Sharon Sobol Jordan. "We'll be better off facing these challenges together than we would as competitors going after scarce dollars."

Margaret Bernstein. "Eight Northeast Ohio Human Services Organizations Announce Plans to Merge." Cleveland Plain Dealer 04/12/2011.