Could there be a wave of charity mergers post-COVID?

New research shows that one in four Canadian charities is concerned about their ability to survive the year. These financial woes are leading some to consider a merger for the first time.

Why It Matters

Many charities are facing a COVID-19 drop in donations and an increase in service needs from their communities. While many feel able to survive the next six months, their long-term future is more uncertain, posing a risk for communities who rely on their services.

This story is part of the Future of Good editorial fellowship covering the social impact world’s rapidly changing funding models, supported by Community Foundations of Canada and United Way Centraide Canada.

In June in British Columbia, as COVID-19 case counts were steadily dropping after a lethal second wave, United Way British Columbia was born.

The new organization — serving a population of more than 4 million Canadians — was the product of a massive amalgamation of six United Ways from across the lower half of the province. And while to some, the move may have looked like a financial-crisis-inflicted ‘pandemic merger,’ the CEO of the new organization, Michael McKnight, says that it was anything but.

“[It took] 20 years,” he says, with a laugh, of the length of time from first conversation between the organizations to the completion of mer


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