The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI) was founded in 2012 by a group of Los Angeles foundations with the intention of normalizing and funding the exploration of strategic restructuring agreements, fostering sustained collaboration among organizations striving to enhance their impact in the communities they serve. Since its inception, the NSI has granted over $4.8 million to assist more than 275 nonprofits in over 100 partnership negotiation processes and nearly 50 agreement implementations – and these numbers continue to grow.

In 2021 the NSI also launched a pilot executive transition fund to support organizations experiencing the departure of a long-tenured leader or founder. Recognizing the challenges organizations face during an executive transition, the NSI aims to normalize institutional funding for the full spectrum of transition planning and implementation activities.

The NSI distributes targeted capacity building funding to ensure that nonprofit leaders have access to the right tools, processes, and expertise to adapt during moments of transformative change, creating new opportunities for sustainable impact. To learn more about the NSI’s grantmaking programs and to access related resources, please visit the links below.

Strategic Restructuring

Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI)

  • Strategic Restructuring Overview

    Partnerships bring new vitality to an organization. They create opportunities which can help build capacity to sustain your mission and scale your vision. Nonprofit leaders are often tasked with achieving organizational sustainability, but what if we were to relieve them of that burden and instead focus on mission sustainability? This reframing may be the difference between the status quo and innovation. This is the power of partnership, and the power of navigating moments of great organizational change from a position of strength and strategic vision.

    The NSI helps nonprofits based in Los Angeles County explore and implement formal partnerships leading to greater organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Known as strategic restructuring (SR), these partnerships typically culminate in agreements to combine some (or all) aspects of the organization, ranging from jointly managed programs and back-office consolidations, to shared ventures or full-scale mergers. The goal of the NSI is to normalize strategic restructuring by establishing an environment where service providers, funders and consultants understand and regularly engage in the activity as a strategy for enhancing impact.

    The NSI provides two types of strategic restructuring funding: negotiation and integration grants. For those organizations who reach an agreement following a strategic restructuring negotiation, integration funding may be available for one-time costs directly related to implementation.

    For more information on the NSI or the application process view our FAQ sheet, contact the NSI Director Carrie Harlow via email at carrie [@] nsifund [.] org.

  • Negotiation Funding

    The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI) is a resource for any nonprofit serving Los Angeles County. To learn from the experience of nonprofits that have gone through the NSI please read some of their stories here.

    The NSI negotiation application is designed for organizations ready to move into structured discussions aimed at developing a strategic partnership. Organizations and leadership that receive NSI funds are not committing to a specific outcome, but rather to enter into good faith negotiations. The goal is to ensure that organizations have every opportunity to thoroughly explore all issues associated with a strategic partnership and to reach an informed decision that best serves their mission and how they service the community.

    For grant administrative purposes, potential partners will submit a joint application. One organization will be identified as the applicant and the other organization(s) as the partner(s). The applicant organization receives a grant for the partners to hire a consultant of their choice, who supports the exploration and negotiation of issues associated with the form of partnership being pursued.

    The applicant organization must include a copy of a proposed consulting contract from consultant(s) identified by the participating organizations. Your selected consultant must have previous experience in facilitating strategic restructuring negotiations. The contract should include:

    1. Proposed scope of work.
    2. Project work plan/timeline.
    3. Project budget/payment schedule.

    In addition to the completed application and copy of the proposed consulting contract, each of the applicant partners must submit a board resolution signed by the board secretary or chair indicating that the board has agreed to enter into good faith negotiations of a strategic partnership. A sample resolution is provided with this application. Grants typically range between $20,000 – $40,000.

  • Eligibility & Criteria

    This is a competitive application process and not all requests for funding will be awarded. Negotiation proposals will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

    • Demonstrated commitment to entering into strategic restructuring negotiations;
    • Impact of a strategic restructuring on the clients and communities served by the partner organizations; and,
    • Well-designed consulting contract with clearly articulated costs, goals, timeline and benchmarks.

    Sample Application

    A sample negotiation application is available for review prior to beginning the online application process. Actual applications are only accepted via our online NonprofitConnect portal.

    Required Attachments

  • Integration Funding

    For those organizations who have reached an agreement following a strategic restructuring negotiation, integration funding may be available for one-time costs directly related to implementation. Examples of costs that may be eligible for funding include: severance packages for departing CEO’s and other staff, IT integration, lease breaking, developing new marketing and communication materials, legal fees, consolidating capital assets, accountant fees, and board development.

    Integration grants typically range between $20,000 – $50,000. Only one request per NSI partnership is encouraged; and costs related to the ongoing operation of the organization(s) will not be considered.

    Sample Application

    A sample integration application is available for review prior to beginning the online application process. Actual applications are only accepted via our online NonprofitConnect portal.

    For more information regarding integration funding or to access the application, please contact the NSI Director, Carrie Harlow at carrie [@] nsifund [.] org.

  • Nonprofit Spotlights
  • Grantee Reporting Survey

    NSI Pre-Negotiations Survey

    If your organization has been awarded an NSI grant, you are required to complete the Pre-Negotiations Survey as part of your grant award:

    • sample survey is available for review prior to beginning the survey.
    • Surveys must be completed by each NSI grantee partner, not just lead agency.
    • SURVEYS MUST BE COMPLETED VIA SURVEYMONKEY HERE.

    NSI Post-Negotiations Survey

    If your organization has been awarded an NSI grant, you are required to complete a Post-Negotiations survey as part of your grant award.

    • Surveys must be completed one month following the conclusion of your negotiations.
    • A sample survey is available for review prior to submission.
    • Surveys must be completed by each NSI grantee partner, not just lead agency.
    • SURVEYS MUST BE COMPLETED VIA SURVEYMONKEY HERE.

    NSI Post-Integration Survey

    If your organization has been awarded an NSI integration grant, you are required to complete a Post-Integration survey as part of your grant award.

    • Surveys must be completed upon expending all grant funds.
    • A sample survey is available for review prior to submission.
    • SURVEYS MUST BE COMPLETED VIA SURVEYMONKEY HERE.

    NSI 2 Year Post-Integration Survey

    If your organization has implemented a strategic restructuring agreement with NSI negotiation and/or integration funding, you are required to complete a 2 Year Post-Integration survey.

    • Surveys must be completed two years after beginning implementation of a strategic restructuring agreement.
    • A sample survey is available for review prior to submission.
    • SURVEYS MUST BE COMPLETED VIA SURVEYMONKEY HERE.
  • Apply

    Applications will not be reviewed until all Board resolutions have been included with the application form. You are welcome to submit the application at any time.

    Note: Username and password is required to access the online portal. For detailed instructions on how to register, please click here.

    Apply Now

  • Consultant List

    The NSI has received feedback from organizations interested in applying for funding and from existing NSI grantees that they would welcome access to a list of consultants that are experienced in conducting strategic restructuring negotiations. This is an effort to provide such a consultant list.

    • Organizations applying to the NSI are NOT required to use consultants from the list. The NSI does not warrant or guarantee the work of the consultants on the list.
    • The list and the information provided by each consultant are meant only to provide guidance, information, and resources.
    • Selecting a consultant from the list does NOT guarantee that the request for NSI funding will be granted.
    • Nonprofits are encouraged to contact multiple consultants and conduct their own due diligence in determining which consultant is the best fit for their anticipated project.

    APPROVED CONSULTANTS

    Consultants who have been approved to date for inclusion in the NSI Consultant List are listed below in alphabetical order. Please click on each link to view additional information provided by each of the consultants with their background, areas of expertise, previous strategic restructuring efforts, and references.

    How Consultants are Included in the List
    Consultants interested in being included in the list are requested to submit an application through the Request For Qualifications link.

    Their response to the RFQ is assessed based on the following criteria:

    1. Complete answers to all questions and sections;
    2. Knowledge of nonprofit capacity issues;
    3. Significant paid work experience in the nonprofit sector or as a consultant to nonprofits; and
    4. Demonstrated experience facilitating at least three strategic restructuring negotiations.

    Individuals or firms meeting the above qualifications are placed on the NSI Consultant List. There is no deadline for responding to the RFQ and the NSI Consultant List will be updated on an ongoing basis as qualified consultants are approved. The NSI is committed to supporting and increasing the cultural competence and diversity of consultants providing strategic restructuring services to Los Angeles area nonprofits. As a result, we encourage consultants and firms with a diverse staff (people of color, women, LGBTQ, and those with disabilities) to respond to this RFQ.

  • Legal Counsel

    As part of the strategic restructuring exploration process, your organization may require legal services related to understanding the legal structure of a proposed partnership; analysis of legal implications affecting employees, tax exemptions, contracts, or loans; confirmation that an organization is in good standing with regulatory bodies; protection and/or transfer of intellectual property; and legal documentation of agreements. For more information regarding legal considerations for NSI grantees, click here.

    Public Counsel provides free transactional legal assistance to nonprofit organizations that serve low-income and underserved communities in Los Angeles County. Their services are free to qualifying organizations. They employ a pro bono model that leverages the expertise of Public Counsel staff attorneys with the talent of volunteer lawyers from major law firms and Corporations.

    For further information, or to apply for legal services, call Annie Marquit at (213) 385-2977, ext. 246 or Ritu Mahajan at (213) 385-2977, ext. 135 and indicate that you are an NSI grantee.

    For more information on how to access Public Counsel services, click here.

  • Strategic Restructuring Resources

Executive Transition

Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI)

nonprofit sustainability initiative (nsi)

Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI)

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