Bay Area United Ways in $50 Million Merger

Two San Francisco, Calif.-area chapters of United Way have merged operations, effective July 1.

The board of directors of both United Way of the Bay Area and United Way of Silicon Valley voted in March to pursue a merger. The combined organization will do business as United Way Bay Area and cover eight counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Solano.

San Francisco-based United Way of the Bay Area is the larger of the two affiliates. It reported total revenue of $37.8 million in 2014 and $15 million in net assets. United Way Silicon Valley in San Jose reported $14.1 million in total revenue and $5 million in net assets.

The two boards voted on the terms of the merger on May 5. The combined organization will do business as United Way Bay Area, with Anne Wilson continuing in her role as CEO. Loretta Walker of AT&T will be board chair of the new organization.

There were redundant positions and natural attrition of positions that were not rehired, according to Tami Kelly, a spokeswoman for United Way of the Bay Area. Four positions were eliminated, including three people laid of last month and one after the audit in September. No more layoffs are expected, she said.

“The goal is to increase fundraising abilities so that they can increase funding to programs, with an eye on keeping a low overhead rate,” Kelly said.

Staff at Bay Area held individual meetings with existing board members to discuss their interest going forward, Kelly said. “Each board member was asked to commit to the vision of the combined organization and the impact it can make in all eight counties,” she said.

Funded by a grant from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, United Way Silicon Valley had been working to determine a new business model for long-term sustainability.

The organization also is in the process of establishing a Silicon Valley Impact and Growth Council, in which board members and other community leaders will be asked to participate, according to Kelly.

The combined organization will have 36 board members. Four board members of Bay Area and 11 from Silicon Valley will not continue their board service, Kelly said, but were in favor of the merger.

As CEO, Wilson earned total compensation of $457,873, including base compensation of $275,621, in 2014. Silicon Valley had been led by Sandra Miley on an interim basis since October. She replaced Carol Leigh Hutton, who had been CEO for eight years.