Smile Merger Causes Frowns

February 24, 2011 at 8:13 PM Leave a comment

In a tale of the sort of boardroom intrigue and hush-hush dealings one normally imagines going on in the for-profit world, we learn from the New York Times how former philanthropic rivals Smile Train and Operation Smile are unexpectedly merging – and how it has little to do with newfound comity among the principles.

The article does a good job laying out the complex series of events that took place in what it likens to a “putsch” which seems to have been born of conflict within the Smile Train’s board. One member who opposed the merger described it thus:

“It’s kind of like handing the New York Yankees over to a high school team,” said Mark Edward Atkinson, a Smile Train board member who opposed the merger. “Operation Smile gets a partner and a $50 million dowry, and Smile Train fires its senior executives, all of whom are great, and the organization and money move to Virginia,” where Operation Smile is based.

It only goes to show that human nature operates in the philanthropic community just as it does everywhere else.

UPDATE: More on this merger from the Nonprofit Quarterly.

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Entry filed under: General.

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