CAP CARES Digital Edition - Page 20


Better Together

Mergers Make Nonprofits Stronger
By Bill Sessa
When Laura Heintz agreed to meet with the board of Stanford Youth Solutions ( formerly Stanford Home for Children ), she had a merger in mind . As the CFO of Victor Community Support Services , a $ 70 million social services organization , Heintz believed that Sacramento ’ s century-old adoption agency — with a budget barely more than a tenth the size of her employer ’ s — would be a strong addition to her portfolio and increase her agency ’ s fiscal efficiency . Instead , three weeks later , she was Stanford ’ s CEO .
“ I always wanted to be a CEO ,” says Heintz , a decades-long veteran of social service agencies . “ At Stanford , I could take a tiny organization and reestablish it .”
Eleven years after that fateful meeting , the agency has grown into a $ 30 million-a-year operation , with its most recent growth the result of merging with adoption agency Sierra Forever Families to broaden the services it provides and improve its fiscal efficiency .
Though the merger had been floated back in 2019 , the final push to bring the two organizations together as Stanford Sierra Youth & Families in January 2020 was federal legislation that required all community service agencies to provide more comprehensive “ continuum of care ” programs that incorporated counseling and mental health therapy aimed at keeping families intact to the greatest extent possible .
“( Sierra Forever Families ) had handled our adoptions for years because they had
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