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Two LI family charities call off merger talks

Two of Long Island's largest social-services nonprofits have called off their nascent merger talks.

Family and Children's Association in Mineola and Family Service League in Huntington - both long-established agencies with similar missions - had entered into talks to combine part or all of their operations. They have stopped after mutually deciding that it wouldn't be a good fit, said Phil Mickulas, interim chief executive of Family and Children's Association.

"It's a disappointment that it didn't bear the fruit we thought it would initially," he said.

Family Service League president and chief executive Karen Boorshtein couldn't be reached.

Mickulas said his organization would resume its search for a new CEO, which it had halted during the talks, while remaining open to partnering with other nonprofits. "We'll still be open to whatever comes down the pike," he said.

The two organizations provide similar services. Family Service League, founded in 1926, and Family and Children's Association, in its 126th year, both supply senior, homeless, family, and youth services under contract with the counties.

While some saw the similarity as carving a natural path toward a merger, "it's probably better to find a partner that isn't the mirror image of yourself," Mickulas said.

Ann Marie Thigpen, director of the Long Island Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Adelphi University, said she wasn't surprised the merger talks failed.

"You've got two organizations with parallel missions, with parallel budgets, with great reputations," she said. "And yet even in a situation like that, there are obviously challenges."

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