November 6, 2020 - University Settlement and The Door have jointly agreed to end their legal partnership of twenty years and will begin operating independently from one another in 2021, the organizations' boards announced today.
"After two decades of effective partnership, we believe that formal independence is now in the best interest of each of our organizations," said Benjamin Schall, Co-Chair of University Settlement's Board of Directors. "Collectively, we're excited about the positive changes this shift will make possible, including autonomy in governance, financial independence, undivided administrative focus, and enhanced clarity for fundraising and external communications."
"By empowering The Door and University Settlement to independently set strategies and manage growth, we're confident that this change in our institutional relationship will enable both organizations to move forward ambitiously from their current positions of strength," said Marc DeBevoise, Chair of The Door's Board of Directors.
The two organizations first forged a strategic alliance in 1999, at a time when University Settlement was seeking to bolster its youth services, and The Door's operations needed fiscal and program support. Under the terms of the partnership, each agency retained their separate 501(c)3 statuses and boards, in addition to their distinct missions, branding, and organizational culture. The arrangement – groundbreaking for its time, when few sharedservices analogues existed in the nonprofit sector – helped stabilize The Door and prime both agencies for decades of sustained growth.
"The initial risks we took paid off tremendously – in our twenty years of collaboration, our combined budgets quintupled as we launched cutting-edge programs for youth at more than two dozen new locations focused on mental health, education, employment, supportive housing and more," said Melissa Aase, Executive Director, University Settlement. "As in any relationship, The Door and University Settlement have continually evaluated where we want to go together, and separately, and I'm looking forward to the next evolution for both organizations."
The planned separation will not affect services for program participants, leaders emphasized, as each agency already manages its programs independently. With the end of the formal partnership now public, the organizations will now jointly undertake a careful process of re-designing their shared administrative functions.
"For years, The Door and University Settlement have been distinct, vibrant, and largely independently operated organizations, each making a real impact in the lives of New Yorkers, and that's still true today," said Eric Weingartner, CEO of The Door. "Everyone involved in this decision holds the mission, people, and work of these institutions in the highest regard. Going forward, we'll continue to make decisions that put our missions and the communities we serve first."