Alliance, COA Talking Merger

The boards of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (Alliance) and the Council on Accreditation (COA) are working through the details of a potential merger. Officials of both organizations have voted to sign a non-binding letter of intent to explore a merger. The Alliance has operations in Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee, Wisc. The COA is based in New York City.

There was no immediate information on a potential name for the merged operations.

COA is financially larger than the Alliance with 2018 revenue of $12 million and assets of $14.9 million listed on the federal Form 990. The Alliance had revenue of $6.2 million during the same period, down from $8.9 million the previous filing period. The Alliance showed a $1.1-million deficit for the filing period.

The two organizations have been in discussions via multiple task forces of their boards since May 2019 and are now moving to due diligence, according to a statement from the organizations. Both organizations represent thousands of professionals working across the sectors of social, health and human services fields, and share a long history. The Alliance served as one of the original founders of COA in 1977, with it formally being recognized by the Internal Revenue Service in 1978.

A joint negotiation task force of selected members of both boards and executive leadership will be working throughout the remainder of 2020 on due diligence. If the decision to proceed is made, the new organization will be created in early 2021.

“The merging of our two organizations to create a new organization is a very exciting possibility as it would amplify both of our missions, assets, networks and accelerate our shared vision to achieve greater impact, influence, and foster more rapid innovation,” according to a joint statement from Alliance President and CEO Susan N. Dreyfus and COA President and CEO Jody Levison-Johnson.

Dreyfus announced in September 2019 that she planned to step down from the Alliance. She joined the organization in 2012 after the sudden death of Peter Goldberg.

“Jointly, we would become a multifaceted and larger cross-sector network of partners (beyond existing COA-accredited organizations and current Alliance members) that could strengthen the reach and influence of our respective fields and the social, health and human services sector as a whole,” Dreyfus and Levison-Johnson said via the statement.

The COA accredits (or is in the process of accrediting) more than 1,600 organizations that serve more than 7 million individuals and families in the U.S. and Canada. COA is an approved accreditor of Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs) under the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).

COA has a network of 30 national and international organizations and more than 500 volunteers.

The Alliance is a national, strategic action network driven by members aligned through shared ownership and a common vision to achieve a healthy and equitable society. The Alliance serves as an incubator for learning and innovation to generate new solutions to society’s toughest problems and aggregates the very best sector knowledge.

The seeds were planted more than half a century before its predecessor organization was founded in 1911. The first charity organization society in the U.S. was founded in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1877. The movement grew rapidly, with the goal of coordinating relief resources in the community and restoring individuals and families to self-sufficiency, according to the Alliance website’s history section.