Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Health Association of Niagara County, Inc.

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

July 2014

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

November 2009 – March 2011

In 2009, two organizations in Niagara County—Center for Joy, which serves vulnerable children and families, and Niagara County AIDS Task Force—were struggling to weather difficult economic times and sustain the funding necessary to provide vital services to community members.

To save these two organizations, the Health Association of Niagara County (HANCI) proposed merging Center for Joy and Niagara County AIDS Task Force with its own operations. Through these potential consolidations, HANCI hoped to strengthen its disease prevention program; expand its reach and influence; garner positive publicity; and create new fundraising and development opportunities. The New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) awarded HANCI a grant to support efforts to strengthen its services by merging with Center for Joy and Niagara County AIDS Task Force.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Fully integrated Center for Joy and Niagara County AIDS Task Force into its structure and operations. Center for Joy officially became a component of HANCI’s child and youth services division, while  Niagara County AIDS Task Force joined with HANCI’s disease prevention division;
  • Acquired a new building, in partnership with the City of Niagara Falls, which serves as the new headquarters for HANCI and Center for Joy;
  • Reinstituted Center of Joy’s after-school program, summer day camp, and diaper donation program;
  • Expanded Center of Joy’s programming to include fitness and nutritional coaching, college visits, and conflict resolution;
  • Secured additional grants, contributions, and funding to create an endowment to support future Center for Joy programming;
  • Assembled a community advisory board for Center for Joy;
  • Facilitated cultural competency training in HIV prevention, treatment, and confidentiality for health care aides in three areas of Niagara County;
  • Created an AIDS Task Force school outreach pilot program; and
  • Redesigned the AIDS Task Force website to make it more practical and user-friendly.

Following the success of these mergers, HANCI is working toward publishing a paper or journal article and a handbook on nonprofit mergers and consolidations. It also is using needs assessment surveys to inform the creation of new programs.