By Clay Holtzman
King County, WA (February 25, 2011)- Environmental restoration group EarthCorps has merged with a south King County conservation group in its fourth such merger in the last eight years. Steve Dubiel, executive director of EarthCorps, said the merger with the nonprofit Friends of Hylebos gives his organization an opportunity to add program work in a new area of the county.
“Our niche is in community based environmental restoration,” Dubiel told me Thursday. “We will really focus on how to steward the watershed” in south King County. Friends of the Hylebos focuses on restoring and preserving the Hylebos watershed. EarthCorps merged with Seattle Urban Nature in 2009; previously it had merged with Wilderness Volunteer Corps and with TREEmendous Seattle. Such mergers are giving EarthCorps more program work to draw in a broader base of volunteers. Last year EarthCorps had a record 15,000 volunteer shifts, and topped the level of 100,000 volunteers over its history.
Dubiel said Friends of Hylebos’ funding from King County had been eliminated and that the best way for the organization’s work to continue was under EarthCorps. The topic of mergers is a hot one in the nonprofit sector as public funding dries up and groups attempt to reduce duplicate programs that often compete for the same resources and serve the same missions. But Dubiel says mergers require a significant amount of work and aren’t always feasible, despite the growing call for them by foundations and funders. “The reality is it takes a lot of work,” Dubiel said.
Puget Sound Business Journal- Merger expands EarthCorps’ work