Published in Nonprofits

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lower West Michigan to merge with Indiana nonprofit

BY MIBIZ STAFF Sunday, December 29, 2019 05:41pm

NILES — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lower West Michigan is merging with South Bend, Ind.-based Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County, effective Jan. 1. 

The Niles, Mich.-based Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lower West Michigan currently serves Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties in Southwest Michigan. The Indiana organization will take over that territory and plans to maintain the Niles office, according to a statement. 

BBBS of St. Joseph County CEO Bill Carnegie COURTESY PHOTO

The Lower West Michigan staff and board of directors also will join the St. Joseph County nonprofit as part of the merger. 

“We are excited about joining forces,” BBBS of St. Joseph County CEO Bill Carnegie said in a statement. “Merging will allow us to centralize our administrative services and increase our focus on providing at-risk youth with a mentoring opportunity that will change their lives.”

In a statement, the two organizations said they had been discussing a merger for several months and ultimately decided to move forward with the deal after determining it would be result in an expansion of services and improvements to efficiencies, allowing the organization to serve more children. 

“Our goal from day one has been to help young people in our area. This partnership emphasizes that goal even more,” BBBS St. Joseph County Board President T.J. Jorgensen stated.

Mergers are one of the top 10 nonprofit industry trends for 2019, according to a July report from accounting firm BDO USA LLP. The report cited program expansion as a key driver of nonprofit mergers. 

“Demographic and technological shifts have made it more expensive and challenging to successfully specialize in all aspects relevant to the mission. To adjust, some nonprofits are looking to form partnerships or joint ventures to maximize their impact,” according to the report.


MiBiz new coverage of Michigan’s nonprofit sector is made possible through a generous sponsorship by Grand Rapids Community Foundation, a leader in funding, initiating and leading programs that benefit the greater Grand Rapids area in arts and social engagement, education, health, neighborhoods, economic prosperity and the environment. For more information, visit grfoundation.org. This sponsorship is advertising. It has no effect on editorial consideration in MiBiz.

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