First-of-its-kind Study in Illinois to Reveal Best Practices for Nonprofit Mergers

Oct 19, 2015, 15:41 ET from Mission + Strategy Consulting

CHICAGO, Oct. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago nonprofit and philanthropic leaders unite to launch a study that will analyze, for the first time, nonprofit merger activity in the eight-county Chicago region and provide Illinois nonprofits with tangible information and tools to strategically assess and guide successful mergers.

"Nonprofits and their leaders have shown tremendous resilience, creativity and entrepreneurship as they deliver critical programs in a sector that faces near-constant resource challenges," said Gillian Darlow, CEO of Polk Bros. Foundation, lead study donor. "Given the current climate, this first-ever research will provide absolutely vital tools to nonprofit leaders to help them consider different business models like mergers and strategic restructuring.  And the study will help us learn how to support successful nonprofit mergers in the Midwest."

While vast corporate mergers have been extensively studied and some nonprofit merger case studies exist, no study of nonprofit mergers has ever included the Chicago metro area.

The study will analyze merger activity between 2004 and 2014 in the target area. Data will be collected through interviews, secondary research and financial analyses to identify best practices and strategies for nonprofit mergers.

The Metropolitan Chicago Nonprofit Merger Research Project comes at a critical point in Illinois history, because:

  • The State of Illinois is transitioning its human services system to a managed care delivery model and reducing budgets for human services.
  • Continuing fall-out from the Great Recession hampers nonprofit fundraising.
  • Foundations are asking grantees to leverage diminishing resources more strategically.

"We are eager to further explore nonprofit merger strategies to provide leaders with best practices that will allow them to continue creating positive changes in their communities," said Don Haider, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, research leader.

The Chicago Foundation for Women and Mission + Strategy Consulting initiated the study and are responsible for overseeing it. The Center for Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management is conducting the study.

"Examination of alternative financing strategies for the nonprofit sector in the Midwest became an absolute must," said K. Sujata, President and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women, research fiscal agent.

An advisory panel of nonprofit and foundation leaders will provide input to the design, analysis and dissemination of the study results.

"Our goal is to put these results in the hands of more than 100,000 nonprofit and foundation leaders throughout Illinois," said Jean Butzen, President and Founder of Mission + Strategy Consulting, project manager. "We plan to create an informational merger toolkit to help guide nonprofit leaders through the process."

Other donors to the Merger Research Project include The Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Foundation for Women, Michael Reese Health Trust, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Grand Victoria Foundation, the Crossroads Fund, and Pierce Family Foundation.

The results will be available in July 2016 via workshops, webinars, websites and distribution lists.


SOURCE Mission + Strategy Consulting