Museum of Nature & Science Named Finalist for $250,000 Nonprofit Collaboration Prize

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Lodestar Foundation Cites Creation of MNS Through Merger of The Science Place, Museum of Natural History and Dallas Children's Museum as 'Notable Feat'

The Museum of Nature & Science has been named one of eight finalists for The Collaboration Prize, a national cash award of $250,000 presented to an outstanding model of nonprofit collaboration.

The Lodestar Foundation, in association with the Arizona-Indiana-Michigan (AIM) Alliance, created The Collaboration Prize in an effort to demonstrate how nonprofit resources can be used more effectively to create greater impact. The Museum of Nature & Science was selected from a competitive pool of over 644 U.S.-based nominations.

Evaluators noted that the unique merger formed "… one all-encompassing museum with greater attendance and quality of educational content. The staff consolidation saved $600,000 in the first year and the ratio of benefits to salaries went from 17.6 percent to 10.5 percent, without reducing quality. This merger was accomplished within nine months, a notable feat considering the complexity of combining three freestanding organizations."

"This merger allowed us to take an integrated approach to the presentation of science and nature that is relevant to the community. We are gratified to be among the finalists for this prestigious recognition from the Lodestar Foundation and are eagerly awaiting the final results," said MNS CEO Nicole Small.

The Collaboration Prize winner will be announced on March 5, 2009 at a seminar in Scottsdale, Arizona on nonprofit effectiveness hosted by Lodestar and the Association of Small Foundations. The winner - chosen by a Final Selection Panel of leaders from the nonprofit and business worlds - will provide the most successful model of collaboration meeting the prize's criteria (as described on the award's Web site, http://www.thecollaborationprize.org). All eight finalists will be invited to attend the seminar and to participate in panel discussions to share their experiences.

The announcement of the winner will come at a time when many nonprofits are seeking ways to remain viable in an increasingly harsh fundraising environment.

"The economic crisis has decreased charitable giving and that has dramatically increased interest in collaborations and mergers among nonprofits, particularly with respect to eliminating duplication and sharing resources," says Lodestar board chairman, Jerry Hirsch. "Though such strategies can be an imperative during this economic crisis, collaborations and mergers are best practices that should be considered even in the best of economic times."

To speak with someone from The Lodestar Foundation, the AIM Alliance or any of the other finalists, contact Claudia Gunter at cgunter@fenton.com or (212) 584-5000 x 226. For more information on The Collaboration Prize or for more details on the finalists, please visit http://www.thecollaborationprize.org.

The other seven Collaboration Prize Finalists are:
(in alphabetical order)
1. Cancer Vaccine Collaborative, New York, New York, Cancer research collaboration promoting learning over competition
2. Chattanooga Museums Collaboration, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Administrative collaboration among The Creative Discovery Museum, The Hunter Museum of American Art and the Tennessee Aquarium
3.Crittenton Women's Union, Boston, Massachusetts, Merger of two organizations serving low-income women
4. New York LawHelp Consortium, New York, New York, Collaboration among legal services organizations providing on-line resources
5. Ready, Set, Parent, Buffalo and Lackawanna, New York, Collaboration between organizations supporting at-risk new parents
6. ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia, Ilwaco, Washington, Merger of two community development financial institutions
7. YMCA/JCC Integration, Sylvania, Ohio (Greater Toledo), Merger of Jewish Community Center and Young Men's Christian Association in Greater Toledo    

About the Museum of Nature & Science
The Museum of Nature & Science, formerly the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children's Museum, is a non-profit educational organization located in Dallas' Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, MNS delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor experiences through its education, exhibition and research and collections programming for students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The MNS campus includes the TI Founders IMAX® Theater and a cutting-edge digital planetarium. The museum is supported in part by funds from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the Texas Commission on the Arts and EDS. To learn more visit http://www.natureandscience.org.

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Cynthia Stine
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