Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare were two strong, financially solid organizations who together served all eight counties in the State of CT. The two organizations had complementary missions and a history of working together well. Both food banks are currently members of Feeding America – the leading national anti-hunger organization. In 2020, Connecticut Food Bank found itself in the midst of a leadership transition and the two organizations decided the time was right to start serious merger discussions.
At the onset, the merger team was clear that decisions would be based on data and on how to best address food insecurity in the state. As Jason Jakubowski stated quite clearly early in negotiations: “We are dedicated to doing this right.”
The Strategy Group (TSG) was hired to facilitate merger discussions and to help map out what a new organization could look like. The process came down to listening, learning, visioning, deciding, and moving forward. Over and over again.
There is both a science and an art to mergers. The conversations can be hard and sensitive. “It’s really a lot like dating,” Jakubowski said. “At first, there is a mutual attraction and after a while it starts to get serious. And until the board votes actually occurred, there were times I wasn’t sure it was going to be a done deal.” It all came back to the mantra of greater impact with sustained efficiencies.