Merger Creates a Unified Voice for HIV/AIDS Services
By La Piana ConsultingJuly 26, 2012
Last year, four AIDS service organizations merged to create a stronger, more unified voice for HIV/AIDS in Colorado. The new Colorado AIDS Project (CAP) brings together the resources and expertise of four previously independent regional AIDS service organizations: DenverCAP, NCAP (Northern CO), S-CAP (Southern CO), and WestCAP (Western CO). Supported by a funder collaborative comprised of the Gill Foundation, The Denver Foundation, the Bright Mountain Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Pueblo Grantmaking division), and with funding from AIDS United, this partnership began as a multi-year planning process to sustain services in an increasingly difficult funding environment. Conversations soon turned to how the organizations could be more powerful by joining forces.
La Piana Consulting is proud to have accompanied this group of nonprofits and foundations on their journey, and to share part of their story with this new case study.
The HIV/AIDS services field in the U.S. is in a state of flux. HIV/AIDS has lost much of its urgency in the public eye, and federal and state budget cuts have diminished many of the funding streams upon which AIDS service organizations rely, which has spurred significant consolidation among these organizations. Now health care reform is adding yet another layer of complexity to the landscape.
In Colorado, a group of nonprofits and foundations recognized this “perfect storm” as a challenge to be addressed head-on. The funders took a uniquely hands-off approach, taking care not to assume that the planning process would result in a merger or consolidation, and the nonprofits kept all options on the table, knowing that what was needed was not a one-time fix, but a longer-term solution that would help them better weather uncertainty and respond to change with greater agility.
Early benefits of the merger include operational efficiencies and improvements, a stronger collective voice in conversations with policymakers and funders, and as integration and implementation continues, new opportunities better serve Coloradans living with HIV/AIDS and their families. CAP’s website captures this optimism in describing its new positioning as a result of the merger: “The new, statewide Colorado AIDS Project is situated to serve, no matter what the future holds.”