To Merge or Not to Merge

For some organizations, a merger is a survival strategy when economic pressures, leadership changes, or other factors make it difficult or impossible to remain viable on their own. For others, a merger represents an opportunity for a strong organization to become even more impactful. In fact, many organizations find that a merger helps them both survive and thrive. And yet others, may choose not to merger after a thorough exploration, but the process may still yield valuable outcomes.

Through Sector Transformation, AIDS United has released a series of merger-themed briefs specifically designed to support AIDS Service Organizations (ASO) who are considering a merger. The ASO Merger Series highlights key principles, practical lessons, and includes valuable checklists to guide you from assessing a potential merger to implementation and integration. This webinar overviews the 7-part series and will feature a dynamic discussion between ASO leaders who’ve journeyed down this road.

Download the slides here.

No matter what stage your organization finds itself, this webinar will serve as a strategic guide to discovering whether a merger is right for you and how to help you get started.


Melissa Mendes Campos, Senior Research Manager, La Piana Consulting
Melissa Mendes Campos is a Senior Research Consultant at La Piana Consulting, a national firm dedicated to helping nonprofits and foundations achieve their mission and accelerate their impact. Melissa specializes in targeted research and analysis to inform and support organizational change. Her collaborative process, social sector experience, and awareness of emerging trends make Melissa a valuable partner to client organizations seeking to make sense of complex choices and advance key initiatives. As a writer, she deeply is committed to developing and disseminating knowledge to share with the sector. Prior to joining La Piana Consulting in 2006, Melissa was grants manager at the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. She is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Michael J. Gifford, President & Chief Executive Officer, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin
Michael J. Gifford has been a leading force in the fight against AIDS in Wisconsin for more than 20 years.  He currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. During his tenure Mr. Gifford has successfully lobbied local, state and federal government to secure enlightened HIV public policy and wise public investments in HIV prevention, care and treatment services.  He has led the development of the ARCW HIV Medical Home, establishing one of the country’s largest and most integrated AIDS service delivery system which delivers some of the finest clinical outcomes in America. The Medical Home assures people with HIV throughout Wisconsin have unfettered access to medical, dental, mental health and social services, regardless of ability to pay. In 2010, he led the opening of the ARCW Pharmacy, Wisconsin’s only HIV dedicated pharmacy assuring that patients receive all of the medications they need and creating a new revenue source to help sustain and expand HIV services in Wisconsin.

Lance Toma, Chief Executive Officer, Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center
Lance Toma is the Chief Executive Officer of Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San Francisco, CA, a 29 year-old multicultural health services, education, and policy organization. Over his nine years in his current position, he has transformed API Wellness Center into a federally qualified health center and expanded its mission and reach to serve as a critical primary care safety net for thousands of the most vulnerable residents of San Francisco. Lance has over 20 years of nonprofit management and leadership experience and works toward a strategic and collaborative community vision, with deep commitment to A&PI, LGBT, HIV/AIDS, and people of color communities. Lance currently serves as vice chair of board of directors of the National Minority AIDS Council, co-chair of the San Francisco HIV/AIDS Providers Network, and steering committee member of San Francisco’s Getting To Zero consortium. He was also a founding member of the California LGBT Health & Human Services Network.

Moderator: Paola Barahona, Senior Program Manager, AIDS United 
Paola Barahona is the Senior Program Manager for the Sector Transformation program at AIDS United. In this role, she helps organizations navigate the new landscape of health reform using strategic grants, educational opportunities, and technical assistance. Prior to joining AIDS United, Paola was a project director at DC Appleseed where she managed their health policy portfolio, including the production of an annual Report Card tracking the District of Columbia’s response to the local HIV epidemic. Before this, Paola served as senior global health policy advocate at Physicians for Human Rights where she worked with the Health Action AIDS team and directed their Harm Reduction Campaign. No stranger to organizational change, Paola was the founding executive director of PreventionWorks, a privately funded syringe access and harm reduction program in Washington, DC, for 9 years. In this role, she led the organization through two major reorganizations and nine Congressional Appropriations cycles. Paola personally understands the unique challenges faced by community-based organizations and brings that perspective when collaborating with them.