Mergers on the Horizon in Wake of COVID-19 Crisis

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the world of philanthropy was braced for an “extinction-level event,” as John MacIntosh, the managing partner of a nonprofit merchant bank that supports nonprofits, described it in a CNN op-ed on March 20.

Jewish nonprofits had similarly dire concerns and expected a wave of mergers prompted by the failure of groups that were already fragile, or hit especially hard by the virus, said Andres Spokoiny, CEO of the Jewish Funders Network, an organization whose members give away at least $25,000 annually. 

Talk of such mergers “was coming out of the fear that the community would implode,” Spokoiny said.

On the one hand, Spokoiny said, it’s a positive development that consolidation didn’t happen under those desperate conditions. On the other hand, mergers and other forms of cooperation can be a positive development. In this sense, the pandemic presents an opportunity to reflect and reorganize that shouldn’t be wasted, he said.

“That doesn’t mean that all organizations have to merge —  there’s a spectrum,” he said. “It’s always positive to look for opportunities for partnerships, be it as a merger, as acquisitions, as strategic alignment. It optimizes resources. It generates critical mass.”