Strategic Restructuring Initiative

The Dyson Foundation’s Strategic Restructuring Initiative is designed to help Mid-Hudson Valley nonprofit organizations become stronger through collaboration, consolidation, or outright merger. Drawing from national studies by the Bridgespan Group and the National Center for Nonprofit Boards that discuss the benefits that can be derived from well conceived and implemented strategic alliances, the Dyson Foundation provides funding to support study and, when warranted, implementation of Strategic Implementation Initiatives.

The Foundation has seen its Strategic Restructuring Initiative program grow dramatically in recent years as nonprofits seek to increase administrative efficiency and/or further their programmatic missions through shared, transferred, or combined services. SRI grants increased 58% in 2010 over the previous year, capping the third consecutive year of growth in this program. This may reflect the pressure that nonprofits are experiencing in the wake of the stubborn national recession to streamline, prioritize programs, cut costs, downsize, or otherwise respond to increased demand for their services and reduced income from almost every source.

The Workers’ Rights Law Center received three grants from the SRI program.  The first Preliminary Exploration grant allowed them to fully investigate the options for partnerships and mergers with the Rochester-based Farmworker Legal Services of New York.  The second grant for planning allowed the collaborating organizations to thoroughly map out their partnership.  Finally, an implementation grant has helped the two merging organizations to develop a new shared name and mission, to integrate the infrastructure and personnel of the two merging organization, and to plan new shared programming.  Executive Director Milan Bhatt said, “Our merger would not be possible without the support we have received from the Dyson Foundation.  The formation of the Worker Justice Center of NY will result in a broad expansion of critical services and advocacy on behalf of low-wage workers throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond.”

In all, the Foundation awarded 12 SRI grants totalling $436,800 in 2010, with 36% of those dedicated to actually implementing an approved consolidation or restructuring plan. Nonprofits participating in the SRI program run the gamut of Mid-Hudson Valley public service organizations, including: United Way of Dutchess County, Nubian Directions, Newburgh YMCA, Literacy Orange, Warwick Day Care Center, and the Workers’ Rights Law Center of New York.

The Strategic Restructuring Initiative is designed to be a deliberate and measured process, one that helps an organization progress through the four basic stages of strategic restructuring. The four stages include: 1) Exploring the feasibility of strategic restructuring 2) Planning the restructuring 3) Implementing the plan 4) Post Restructuring Support for the restructured entity. Although applicants are not required to go through each funding stage, the Dyson Foundation will not fund stages out of sequence. For example, the Foundation will not fund an applicant for implementation and then consider a proposal for the preliminary exploration stage.

For full Strategic Restructuring Initiative program details and guidelines, click here.