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The following article from the Cape Cod Times reveals how challenging and how much time the bringing together as "one" a nonprofit merger process can take. I of course don't know all the details but given the differences in size between the two organizations, acquisition may be a better label for what is being negotiated. While indeed, the two may become one, one museum is larger with more resources. The reality being faced by the smaller institution, that it is losing money, may be the appropriate motive for discussions but remains a hard and bitter pill to swallow for board members. Still, in today's economy with the need to achieve efficiency and outcomes, mergers and acquisitions between two "like" institutions becomes the most appropriate action.
Thornton Burgess Society, museum still in merger talks
By Sean F. Driscoll
Posted May. 29, 2016 at 6:22 PM

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and the Thornton Burgess Society have been in merger talks for two years, but a decision may be coming early this summer, the head of one of the organizations said.

The two nature education nonprofit groups started talking about joining forces in late 2014 and went public with the matter in May 2015, but the groups haven't inked a deal yet. Robert Dwyer,president and executive director of the museum, said they're in the "ongoing due diligence component" that can be lengthy.

"When I started it, I was told it can take two to three years. I didn't think it would be true, but I'm living it," he said.

Gene Schott, executive director at Thornton Burgess, said the two organizations may chart a path forward soon. Several meetings are scheduled in the upcoming weeks that could give everyone a better handle on where the issue is headed and how — and if — the merger will proceed.

"When you're talking about two nonprofit boards, a lot of people on the boards have particular issues and thoughts and they want to have them expressed," he said. "We're still trying to piece things together."

The merger discussions began over lunch between Dwyer and Schott. The two organizations had collaborated in the past, most notably on a 2010 joint exhibit, and as the men talked they realized both groups had strengths that complemented the other.

In 2014, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History had nearly $3.8 million in net assets and about $83,000 in net revenue, according to its tax filings. In the same year, Thornton Burgess had $1.3 million in net assets and expenses outstripped revenue by about $21,000.

— Follow Sean F. Driscoll on Twitter: @seanfdriscoll.

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