Two significant organizations in the fields of social, health and human services have agreed in principle to a merger early next year.
The boards of the Milwaukee-based Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the New York City-based Council on Accreditation announced Tuesday that they had signed a nonbinding letter of intent to combine forces if due diligence, now underway, doesn’t surface any unforeseen issues.
The organizations, with combined revenue of nearly $20 million in 2018, have been in talks for 15 months, they said.
Representatives of the two groups say while no employment changes are expected through the end of the year, future plans will create “a structure that capitalizes on the talent across both the Alliance and COA.” Office locations and headquarters are still being determined, along with prospects for working remotely.
Susan N. Dreyfus, president and CEO of the alliance has previously announced plans to step down soon and attend to private matters. The Council on Accreditation, created by the alliance in 1977, is run by Jody Levison-Johnson, president and CEO.
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities works with member leaders in the human services sector to help organizations boost the cause of equity. The group provides leadership development and constructs solutions to tough social problems, pushing them out nationally.
The Council on Accreditation is an international nonprofit accreditor of community-based behavioral health care and social service organizations involved in child welfare, behavioral health, and community-based human and social services for children, youth, adults, and families. Those certified organizations and programs serve more than 10 million individuals and families each year.
The joint statement from the alliance and the council stuck to generalities in terms of what a merger might accomplish and called the prospect “exciting.”
“We could maximize our joint capacities, credibility, and reputation, and will build upon the excellence of our partner organizations through data and research, best practices, quality standards, policy, and accreditation pathways,” the groups’ leaders said. “Jointly, we would become a multifaceted and larger cross-sector network of partners (beyond existing COA-accredited organizations and current Alliance members) that could strengthen the reach and influence of our respective fields and the social, health and human services sector as a whole.”
The organizations will spend the rest of the year making sure the shared vision of the merger is truly achievable and desirable. In a separate video statement to Alliance staff and members, Dreyfus said the two groups’ long history should enable them to catalyze their skills and capabilities beginning early next year.
“One plus one won’t be two; one plus one is going to be three, and I think even four,” she said.
Between the coronavirus pandemic and the national push for racial justice and equity, Dreyfus added, this is the right time to undertake the merger.
“I’m not being Pollyannaish,” she said. “I believe this is our moment as a field, our moment as a sector, to rise up … in creating a free, just and civil society so that all people can thrive.”