The Perinatal Quality Foundation

Sunsetting an organization



The most strategic organizations monitor developments across industry and consistently assess their market position. Sometimes that information points in a direction that the group is not well suited to travel.

It can be difficult to make the decision to sunset an organization, but astute leaders understand that when the mission can be better served by other providers, the decision to close shop is both a wise and responsible choice for all constituents.

The Perinatal Quality Foundation faced that crossroads in 2021. PQF’s mission was to improve the quality of obstetrical medical services by providing state-of-the-art educational programs. During the organization’s 18-year history, the Foundation fulfilled the charge by offering excellent programs, credentials, and services to more than 35,000 participants.

Like most aspects of medicine, the technology involved in perinatal care is rapidly advancing. PQF was watching the trends and evaluating how people were using their reporting and services. They realized that many of those functions were being assumed by technology. Although their financial position was strong, the data confirmed that other groups were better situated to offer programs around the swiftly changing developments in this evolving field.

The Challenge

Executive director Jean Spitz called on .orgSource to help. Spitz and her board wanted to complete the responsibilities involved in closing shop in a way that was thoughtful, thorough, and would maximize the resources they could share with other organizations.

Su Hawk, .orgSource senior consultant, was honored to undertake this assignment. Hawk had supported several other organizations through a similar transition. She was confident she could help PQF make this significant step with the care and attention to detail they anticipated.

“This was truly a case study in how to do everything right,” Hawk observed. “PQF had an incredibly committed three-person staff. I have never worked with people more focused on fulfilling a mission. It was a very professionally satisfying opportunity.”

The Solution

Spitz wanted a plan that included recommendations for:

  • Legal responsibilities
  • Communications and messaging to stakeholders
  • Administrative implementation
  • Governance activities

Hawk developed a portfolio of guidelines and materials. She collaborated closely with the PQF team to ensure the accuracy of the medical/technical information.

“Our work was a real partnership. Jean and her board are incredibly smart and they approached the process so thoughtfully. Everyone was highly professional. They were on time and present at each planning session, which made the process run smoothly. The only incident of tardiness was seven minutes because a board member was delivering a baby!

“PQF made the decision to transition one of their largest programs to another organization. So, I also had the opportunity to work with that group. In addition, they generously contributed $600,000 to another foundation involved with the same mission.”

The Results

“Other nonprofits can learn from PQF’s example,” Hawk noted. “This group made a challenging decision at the right time. Then, they followed all the correct legal and ethical procedures. They identified how to maximize the distribution of their remaining assets and pass along their valuable intellectual property. The staff was thanked and appreciated. And Jean made sure that each staffer found other employment. Everyone involved put aside self-interest to ensure that this organization upheld its standard of excellence and completed its mission in the best possible way."