Mission Sustainability Initiative

As the 2015 State of the Nonprofit Sector Report from the Nonprofit Finance Fund highlights, the social impact sector is contending with tremendous challenges as the nonprofits fulfill their missions and deliver their programs. In Illinois, 73% of nonprofits report increased demand for their services, with only 53% indicating the ability to meet these demands. And with the ongoing struggles over the state budget and the turmoil in Springfield, looming cutbacks in public funding for programs of all kinds threaten to wreak even more damage on these organizations – and the individuals, families and communities whom they serve around the state. 

For years, the idea of nonprofit mergers and strategic partnerships have been routinely discussed as a way to protect critical services to vulnerable communities. Nonprofits that strategically partner with other complementary organizations could align their services, strengthen their infrastructure, and scale their missions, even in the face of reduced funding and increased demand. Other strategic alternatives, including transfers of programs and initiatives from struggling organizations to stronger organizations may allow vital services to continue and to grow, perhaps even more effectively than in the past.

Now more than ever, Illinois needs strong advocates and leaders to convene appropriate stakeholders, educate the sector about challenges and opportunities, facilitate conversation among key players, and assist more nonprofits to see mergers, partnerships, and other strategic alternatives as possible options for fulfilling and enhancing their missions.

Vision: Nonprofits and grantmakers understand, support, and actively engage in strategic restructurings, as appropriate, as a tool for enhanced impact and sustainability.

Recent results:

Forefront has created a Mission Sustainability working group comprised of nonprofit, business and foundation leaders to discuss strategies, opportunities and challenges. 

We hosted nearly 500 nonprofit professionals at a Learning Summit on October 20, 2016 at the Chase Auditorium to provide education and training to nonprofits about mergers, partnerships and other strategic alternatives that may be available to help further nonprofits' missions. Read more about the Summit here.

Find resources, case studies, and more at our dedicated Mission Sustainability Initiative page.