'Merger of Strengths' Supports Region's Businesses, Nonprofits

Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Business Volunteers Unlimited merge into one organization

Sep 20, 2011, 08:53 ET from BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence

AKRON, Ohio and CLEVELAND, Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Two leading organizations engaged in promoting business volunteerism and fostering excellence in Northeast Ohio's nonprofit sector are merging.  Effective today, the Akron-based Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE) and Cleveland-based Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU) are one organization known as BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence, with offices in both downtown Akron and Cleveland.

The organization will offer services to businesses and nonprofits throughout the region and provide one-stop shopping for volunteer referral, consulting and training.

"Regional collaboration is important to the vitality and success of Northeast Ohio," said Robert W. Briggs, president of the GAR Foundation.  "These two organizations are a good example of how regionalism can strengthen both organizations and the broader community."

David S. Goodman, managing partner of the Cleveland Office of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and board chair of BVU, said, "This is a merger of strengths that will increase the capacity and range of our services, and broaden the geographic reach of all of our services. The newly combined organization will engage more business people in volunteer opportunities with nonprofit organizations throughout our region and build on the high-quality services of both of our organizations."

Services for businesses include board matching, volunteer consulting and done-in-a-day volunteer projects that promote leadership development and team-building among employees.  Consulting services for nonprofits include board development, succession planning, strategic planning (in Summit County) and infrastructure consulting such as marketing, finance, human resources and information technology.  

"This merger is very significant for nonprofits in the Akron area," said Kathy Giller, board chair of CNE. "They now have access to an even wider array of services – including BVU's board matching program and volunteer consulting, as well as CNE's existing resources of consulting, technical assistance and education services. For Akron-area businesses, it means additional opportunities for employees to become effectively engaged in the community through board matching, volunteer consulting and team volunteer projects."

Theresa Proenza, who has been interim executive director of CNE, will serve as the regional vice president in the Akron office.  

BVU's board matching program trains and matches professionals to nonprofit boards based on the needs of nonprofits for particular skills and expertise and the qualifications and interests of each candidate.  Since 1993, more than 2,000 business professionals have been trained and matched to 425 nonprofit boards through the program.

"PNC is committed to strengthening the community where we live and work," said Paul Clark, PNC regional president for Cleveland.  "Our employees are passionate about serving on local boards, volunteering hundreds of hours of their time to local organizations.  For many years, BVU has helped us connect our employees with meaningful volunteer opportunities as well as prepare them for these leadership positions.  BVU provides a valuable service to companies such as ours and ultimately strengthens this region's nonprofit community."

Brian Broadbent will be president and CEO of the combined organization.  He noted that Cleveland-area businesses will continue to have ongoing access to the board matching program as well as volunteer consulting, team volunteer project coordination and other services.  The merger also opens up more of the region to opportunities for their employees, he added.

"Many of our business members have employees who live in Summit County and the surrounding area," said Broadbent.  "The merger provides greater opportunities for them to be matched to boards and volunteer opportunities closer to home."

BVU was established in 1993 by business leaders in collaboration with the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation and United Way of Greater Cleveland. CNE was founded in 2001 by a coalition of community leaders from the public and private sectors, and funded in part by an operating endowment from the GAR Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

BVU will operate with its current combined staff of 19 full- and part-time employees in Akron and Cleveland.  All CNE and BVU board members will be members of the merged, 48-member governing board.

SOURCE BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence