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Local Philanthropic Organizations Collaborate to Form the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund

Wednesday, October 7, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Seasholtz
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Nadya K. Shmavonian tapped to lead regional effort that will invest $1.4 Million to help nonprofits in Greater Philadelphia improve capacity, effectiveness and financial health


PHILADELPHIA – (October 7, 2015) – Local philanthropic organizations have collaborated to form the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund (“the Fund”), a regional effort to improve the capacity, effectiveness and financial health of nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia area. The Fund has committed $1,425,000 over three years for grants that will encourage and support formal, long-term collaborations between nonprofit organizations including alliances and back-office consolidations, programmatic joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions. In rare instances, dissolutions will be supported.

The Greater Philadelphia nonprofit sector accounts for over $11 billion in annual wages, making it one of the major economic drivers of the region’s economy. However, some of the region’s individual organizations struggle with issues of insufficient scale, duplication of effort, undefined leadership succession, limited public and private sources of revenue, and high back-office costs. In the face of these forces, nonprofits may be challenged to deliver their services effectively.

Nadya Shmavonian“The Fund provides a safe space and financial support to explore repositioning activities as a strategic option to strengthen performance and deliver upon mission in a rapidly changing external environment,” said Nonprofit Repositioning Fund Director Nadya K. Shmavonian, a local nonprofit leader with extensive experience in philanthropy, strategy and organizational governance and management. “The Fund will make grants to nonprofits so they can obtain the technical assistance required to thoughtfully explore long-term collaborations, and to implement repositioning activities where organizations find they can effectively combine their forces for greater impact.” 

Since 2011, funders in the region have supported more than 55 collaborations to help Greater Philadelphia’s nonprofits secure and strengthen themselves.  The Fund is a formal collaboration among grantmakers seeking long-term regional impact through pooled funding to support nonprofits. The funders are: North Penn Community Health Foundation, Samuel S. Fels Fund, the Scattergood Foundation, The Barra Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, William Penn Foundation, and the Lodestar Foundation of Phoenix, Ariz.

The Fund will make grants at three levels, including early stage Seed Awards, Exploratory Grants of up to $40,000, and Implementation Grants of up to $100,000.  These grants will help to support technical assistance and one-time costs associated with repositioning activities among two or more nonprofits serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and/or Philadelphia counties. Shmavonian, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and a governance committee composed of the eight founding members will oversee the Fund.

Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia will host and administer the Fund.  Philanthropy Network is the region’s membership association for organizations and individuals active in philanthropy, helping funders build essential skills, share knowledge and stay on top of key issues and trends.

Maari Porter, Executive Director of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, added, “I’m proud that the philanthropic community is responding directly to the strategic needs of the nonprofit sector.  That seven local funders came together to pool their resources and attract a national philanthropic leader and funder to our region - The Lodestar Foundation - in support of this effort is exciting,” she said.  “These types of partnerships are common in the private sector, and it is a huge step forward that nonprofits are now openly exploring long-term strategic partnerships.”

“Similar initiatives have been launched in other cities across the country, and the Fund represents an important new player in this burgeoning movement. The funding community in the Philadelphia region is wise to come together and offer repositioning as a strategic option for nonprofits,” concluded Lois Savage President of the Lodestar Foundation.  “In our 17 years of experience with formal collaborations, we have learned that repositioning activities can truly help nonprofits become more effective, efficient and stable, thereby increasing their impact and sustaining their missions.”

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The Nonprofit Repositioning Fund (The Fund) is a collaborative effort focused on improving the capacity, effectiveness and financial health of nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia area. The Fund is administered by Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia and is led by Nadya K. Shmavonian, a local nonprofit leader with extensive experience in philanthropy, strategy and organizational governance. Additional information about The Fund, including types of support information on how to apply, can be found at