Restructuring Success Stories in the Mid-Hudson Valley

Nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Hudson Valley and around the country are finding that strategic alliances, collaborations, or full mergers can help make them stronger, more efficient, and better able to handle the current competitive funding environment.  Read restructuring success stories from organizations in the Mid-Hudson Valley below.   (National examples are available on the Strategic Solutions website.)   

Alzheimer's Association - Full Merger
In May of 2001, the boards of directors of the Westchester/Putnam chapter of the Alzheimer's Association based in White Plains, New York and the Mid-Hudson Valley chapter located in Poughkeepsie, New York stated their intent to merge into a single organization. This agreement came after a review by their respective boards of each chapter's strengths and weaknesses, with a view to future requirements and expectations of area chapters in the Alzheimer's Association's network.  

The two organizations had a history of cooperation and shared some state legislators and members of Congress. They had also worked together on public policy issues with members of the New York State Coalition of Alzheimer's Association Chapters.  

Initially, the full boards of both chapters met to get to know each other and share their visions for the future. A transition team, with subcommittees focused on finance, program, governance, operations, and development, met monthly throughout the process.

The merger, it was determined, would streamline operations and eliminate duplication in some administrative areas, enabling an increased focus on programs.  Additionally, the merger would increase financial resources and enable greater access to those resources with the staff and administrative systems needed to enhance fundraising.

The two chapters officially merged on July 1, 2002. The board of directors of resulting organization has 18 members with representation from each county in the service area.

The Poughkeepsie site now houses most administrative functions, including budgeting and financial operations, strategic planning, and program development. It continues to provide program services to residents of Dutchess and Ulster Counties. The White Plains office houses the Director of Development and provides services to residents of Westchester County. Offices in Middletown, New City, and Patterson focus on the delivery of services to residents of Orange and Sullivan Counties, Rockland County, and Putnam County respectively. 

Contact: Elaine Sproat President/CEO Alzheimer's Association
2 Jefferson Plaza, Suite 203
Poughkeepsie, New York 12601-4027
845.471.2655, elaine.sproat@alz.org

Bardavon 1869 Opera House and Hudson Valley Philharmonic - Acquisition of Assets
In 1999, the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, New York State's oldest and a premier performing arts venue in the Mid-Hudson Valley, acquired its "sister" organization, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, founded in 1959.

Under the leadership of Randall Craig Fleischer, the third Musical Director of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the orchestra has developed into one of the region's major cultural and educational assets, and has featured internationally renowned artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis. But the Orchestra, struck by a series of negative events in 1998 that left it with substantial debt, filed for bankruptcy.

To save this prominent cultural institution, three local philanthropic foundations, the Dyson Foundation, the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, and the McCann Foundation stated their willingness to commit financial support if the Bardavon would reorganize, manage, and present the philharmonic orchestra. 

The Bardavon has a particularly strong and active board of directors, 35 people in all, with committees that focus on Fundraising, Finance/Executive, Building, Membership, and Nominating Fundraising, Finance/Executive, Building, Membership, and Nominating. Further, the Bardavon has made progressive use of technology, building the capability of ticket and membership sales through its website.

Prior to the acquisition, the executive director of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic resigned and its board was dissolved. Then on June 3, 1999, the Bardavon purchased the assets of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic securing the organization's name, contracts of the musical director and musicians, music library, donors/subscribers listing, and the orchestra. The Bardavon hired three full-time personnel for the purposes of the management of the orchestra.

The resulting synergies have meant an increased capacity for audience building and sounder management for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and regular source of classical music and educational programming for the Bardavon.

Contact: Chris Silva, Executive Director
Bardavon 1869 Operahouse
35 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, New York 12601
845.473.5288, csilva@bardavon.org


Dutchess County YMCA and Brookside Daycare Center -  Alliance and Facility Sharing
In 2001, Brookside Day Care Center and the Dutchess County YMCA formed a facility-sharing alliance.  This allowed Brookside to continue operating when outside circumstances threatened to close it. 

Brookside Day Care Center started in 1986 through an initiative by the New York State Labor Management Child Childcare Advisory Committee establishing a network of work site child childcare centers for preschool children of state employees and the community at large.  Brookside Day Care Center was originally located on the grounds of the Hudson River Psychiatric Center serving on average 60 children. After 15 years, it had to move its operations from the state grounds when the property was sold to private developers.  

Brookside began looking for a new location for its childcare center. The YMCA of Dutchess County had a childcare space available for leasing. The boards of directors of Brookside Day Care Center and the Dutchess County YMCA, both of which share the common goal of serving children and families, agreed it would meet the mission of both organizations if the childcare center moved its location to the YMCA facility, which it did in August 2001. 

The original plan was to lease the space to Brookside for the first year and renew annually. After the first year of this arrangement, both organizations agreed that although the landlord/tenant relationship between the organizations was working, more closely integrating the organizations would result in increased financial stability for both organizations and impact positively on services to the community. 

In the fall of 2003, the two organizations sought help to facilitate a formal alignment of their organizational structures.  The Council of Community Services of New York State, a nonprofit organization that provides management assistance to other nonprofits, was contracted jointly by Brookside Day Care Center and YMCA to provide transition assistance to the organizations through a formal process of developing an alliance. A task force consisting of board members and staff of both organizations was organized and facilitated by the Council of Community Services. 


(DT NOTE: HOLD ON COWBOY, THIS IS STILL MOVING TOWARD MERGER 6 YEARS LATER?!!)


To date the task force has made great progress towards forming a more permanent and formal alliance with the ultimate goal of reaching a full merger. Renovations of the childcare space have been completed in hopes of increasing the number of children that can be served by Brookside Day Care Center. Plans are underway for additional renovations to allow for a total of 60 childcare slots. The additional childcare slots will enable the childcare center to be financially self-sustaining.   

This strategic alliance has afforded Brookside Day Care Center and the Dutchess County YMCA the opportunity to better fulfill a shared goal of offering complete child childcare to the community. 

Contact: Milo Bunyi, Executive Director
YMCA of Dutchess County
Eastman Park
Poughkeepsie, New York 12601
845.471.9622, mbunyi@ymcanyc.org 


Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley - Full Merger
In 1997, Planned Parenthood of Orange/Sullivan and Planned Parenthood of Dutchess/Ulster merged, becoming Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley, with administrative offices in Poughkeepsie, New York and 12 local clinics providing services in each of the four counties.    

The two Planned Parenthood affiliates came together based on commonalities and a 25-year history of past successful collaboration as well as the support of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which encouraged several affiliate mergers across the country.  In 1997, there were 210 separate affiliated Planned Parenthood organizations.  Today, as a result of mergers, there are 123 affiliates, giving Planned Parenthood a stronger organizational structure with greater resources and more flexibility. 

An ad hoc committee of members of the boards and executive directors from the two affiliates met for a period of two years to develop a plan as well as a vision for what would become Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley. The board of the new organization includes former board members from the previous organizations as well as new board members who represent the communities served by the merged organization. 

Prior to the merger, Planned Parenthood of Orange-Sullivan had five local clinics and served 6,500 people yearly. Planned Parenthood of Dutchess-Ulster had seven local clinics and served approximately the same number of clients. Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley now serves a total of 25,000 clients every year. The two affiliates had operating budgets that were between $3.5 million and $3.8 million dollars individually.  The overall operating budget of Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley stands at $9 million dollars.

The board and the executive leadership continue to work towards facilitating a smooth transition from two well-run smaller entities to a more efficient and larger single organization. The organization is currently upgrading its existing technology and establishing a local network system to allow for easy system-wide retrieval of client information. A priority for the organization is to strengthen their ties with the community, including their volunteers, who play a vital role in advocacy, fundraising, and community relations.  

Contact: Steve White, Executive Director for Finance and Administration
Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley
178 Church Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
845.471.1530 x113, steve.white@ppfa.org