Being Alive to the Potential Benefits of Collaborations and Mergers: Can UK community foundations and other community foundations globally achieve greater social benefit for their communities and facilitate community philanthropy more effectively via collaborations and mergers?

Catherine Elliott, Senior Fellow, International Fellows Program ~ 2009




Ensuring the future sustainability of the United Kingdom’s community foundations by means of collaborations and mergers is important due to diminishing public sector funding and increasing competition between neighboring community foundations for those limited funds. Collaboration has become rarer due to the emergence of two tiers of community foundations within the United Kingdom.  The first tier is dominated by established community foundations that operate across large geographical areas, such as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and have endowments ranging from £1 million to £30 million. The second tier is made up of smaller, more local community foundations whose endowments range from   £5,000 - £1 million.


This paper considers key motivations for mergers, current global practice and benefits and factors for success and failures. Catherine Elliot assesses models for community foundations that are considering merging, drawing on case studies from mergers in the United Kingdom and the United States in order to build on models of cooperation. The intention is to develop them further in order to contribute to community foundation merger strategies and best practices with an eye to future growth in the field.



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