The economic crisis has presented a unique opportunity, at least according to a columnist from The San Francisco Chronicle. C.W. Nevius wrote in a column on Saturday that the city of San Francisco must encourage nonprofits it supports to either close or merge with another agency. The city spends about $500 million a year funding local agencies, many of which provide shelter for the homeless, job training, and violence prevention.
Although Nevius acknowledges these are worthy causes, he says that there is too much overlap among nonprofits in San Francisco. For example, there are 10 agencies providing the exact same services as Homeless Employment Collaborative, which gives job training to the unemployed. Money could be saved by simply having similar organizations merge together. While it might seem difficult to get many of these nonprofits to accept such a proposal, Nevius reminds readers that it has been done before. In 1967, Haight Ashbury Free Clinic (HAFC), which was on the verge of closing because of financial difficulties, merged with Walden House after a gentle nudge by the city. Walden helpef HAFC get out of debt and gave them a medical presence.
San Francisco has been pushing these types of mergers for three years now, though not much has become of it as of yet. You can read the full SF Chronicle piece over at their website.