Episode 13: Anatomy of a Mega Merger

Fresh Research Episode 13 – Brad Smith & Jacob Harold

Two of the two largest data and information nonprofit organizations in the United States announced a merger on Feb. 1. The Foundation Center and GuideStar will become Candid after almost two years of discussions on a merger that has its origins at least a decade in the making.

Brad Smith, president of the Foundation Center, will be president of Candid, and Jacob Harold, president of GuideStar, will be executive vice president. The two joined the Fresh Research podcast for the inside story of why the timing was right for a merger, what to expect over the next few years, and what they’ve learned in the process.

The Foundation Center was launched in 1957 and GuideStar in 1996.  The organizations’ combined revenue in Fiscal Year 2017 was $36.5 million with the projection to be roughly $38 million for Fiscal Year 2019. There are no layoffs expected among the combined 210 employees.

Jacob Harold

“In the short-term, the changes are surface level. You see on both of our respective legacy websites we’ve added ‘by Candid,’ as an indication that we’re part of something bigger,” Harold said during this month’s episode. “Many years down the road, it’s going to be profoundly different, and we’re going to be integrating multiple streams of data, multiple tools and services, trying to make it global. The experience of the data will be quite different. And our challenge is to navigate between that short-term stability….and our ability to change toward the long term,” he said.

Brad Smith

“This always was and always has always been an initiative driven by the two organizations,” Smith during the 20-minute episode. “This was never driven by a funder. And both Jacob and I worked in foundations and I think we have a few of those on our watch, a few shotgun weddings. This was not a shotgun wedding.”

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