Nonprofit Transitions Fund
While Bay Area nonprofits have been resilient, and have even grown during recent recessions, the scale and scope of the current downturn is clearly different. Given the tumultuous economy, many organizations are rethinking operations in order to continue delivering mission-related programs. Some face hard decisions about streamlining, merging, consolidating, or even closing. Growth used to be a barometer of success. In the current economic climate, adaptability is a more pertinent measure.
The San Francisco Foundation wants to enable strategic restructuring so local Bay Area nonprofits can emerge healthier and more sustainable long term. In the short term, these efforts can produce efficiencies and economies of scale, while improving programming and service delivery.
Supporting Intentional Change
The Nonprofit Transitions Fund helps organizations rethink and regroup in response to the downturn in the economy. The goal of the Nonprofit Transitions Fund (NTF) is to help nonprofits reduce costs and time spent on administrative work, as well as increase productivity. This fund is intended to ensure the sustainability and vitality of the Bay Area nonprofit sector by supporting nonprofit agencies and their consultants as they plan mergers, program partnerships, and shared service arrangements. A small, discretionary fund of $250,000 will support serious planning efforts, consultants, due diligence, and other expenses related specifically to the following activities:
- Post-merger integration costs
- Back office collaborations (including rent, equipment, group insurance, joint purchasing, and centralizing human resources, payroll and benefits administration, and financial and grants management)
- Service delivery joint ventures
The Nonprofit Transitions Fund will not fund capacity building or capital campaign applications.
Read more about our 2011 Nonprofit Transition Fund Grantees.
Grant funds will be awarded on a discretionary, case by case basis. Organizations with a current Nonprofit Transitions Fund grant are not eligible to apply. All other organizations with an established track record at TSFF, including those with a current grant or one under consideration in a different Program Area, are welcome to apply if their application fits the specific guidelines outlined for the Nonprofit Transitions Fund. Organizations will still be eligible to apply to other program areas if they have a pending application with the Nonprofit Transitions Fund. Additionally, inquiring organizations must:
- have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status (or a fiscal sponsor);
- impact residents in at least one of the five Bay Area counties we serve: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo;
- be invested in projects above and beyond the scope of their regular work;
- be aligned with one or more of the Foundation’s program areas: Arts and Culture, Community Development, Community Health, Education, Environment, FAITHS, or Koshland Program;
- be able to submit an IRS 990 tax form for all parties involved in a merger or acquisition; and
- be able to submit a simple three-year budget history for all parties involved in a merger or acquisition.
The Nonprofit Transition Fund application is open to all nonprofits whose work is aligned with current TSFF funding guidelines. Preference will be given to organizations with a known track record at TSFF. Organizations should first vet their idea by submitting a one-page Letter of Intent (LOI) to their current TSFF program officer, who will recommend whether or not an online application should be submitted. No NTF online applications will be accepted or reviewed without first submitting a successful LOI to the appropriate Program Officer for review and confirmed recommendation to apply. The average grant size is $20,000.
Successful proposals will provide a detailed assessment of key considerations including:
- Evidence of buy-in from staff, board, and constituencies
- Clear and realistic expectations of benefits/risks
- What niche/role their organization(s) serves in local and regional needs
- Mission compatibility
- Financial strengths
- Cultural fit, including board and staff compatibility
- Awareness of obstacles such as asset restrictions, endowment/bequest issues, current liabilities, deferred revenue, and other legal barriers
Projects must benefit residents in at least one of the five Bay Area counties we serve: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo. If an organization is based outside these five counties, the total number of constituents benefiting from service must be competitive with local organizations.
This is a rolling, open application process until funds are expended. Recommendations for funding will be made at the discretion of the Program Officer and the NTF lead staff person.
Valid tax exempt status: 501(c)(3), public entity, or fiscal sponsor
The Foundation only makes grants to organizations with 501(c)(3) tax status or to government entities. If your organization does not have tax exempt status, you must apply using a fiscal sponsor.
For more information about the Nonprofit Transitions Fund Program at The San Francisco Foundation, please contact us at 415.733.8500