• FAQs

    Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question below to view its answer. If you have specific questions about an initiative, please visit that initiative's page on our website.

What is The Patterson Foundation?

The Patterson Foundation is a fully endowed charitable entity. Dorothy Patterson, the foundation’s benefactor, entrusted direction and decision making to those who worked with her and the foundation’s leaders who would follow.

What does The Patterson Foundation do and what is its focus?

The Patterson Foundation strengthens the efforts of people, organizations, and communities by focusing on issues that address common aspirations, foster wide participation, and encourage learning and sharing.

How does The Patterson Foundation approach its work?

In a world that moves at the speed of change, we believe philanthropy strengthens people, organizations, and communities. Rather than having grant cycles or requests for proposal, we invest in advancing opportunities through process, people, and organizations by:

  • Connecting people and organizations
  • Providing expertise
  • Encouraging learning and sharing
  • Sharing promising practices
  • Helping people engage with each other

How is The Patterson Foundation set up?

The Patterson Foundation is a fully endowed charitable entity that was established in perpetuity. Northern Trust is the trustee, continuing the business relationship Dorothy Patterson enjoyed during her lifetime. Through the leadership of the Governing Board, President and CEO Debra Jacobs administers the foundation.

Who is the “Patterson” of The Patterson Foundation?

The source of The Patterson Foundation’s funds can be traced back through four generations of the Patterson family to Joseph Medill, who became the owner of the Chicago Tribune in 1855. The foundation’s benefactor is Dorothy Clarke Patterson, the wife of Medill’s great-grandson James J. Patterson.

How large is The Patterson Foundation?

After Dorothy Patterson’s estate was settled in 2009, The Patterson Foundation’s endowment grew to more than $200 million.

How does The Patterson Foundation allocate resources?

The Patterson Foundation believes in the power of strengthening the efforts of people, organizations, and communities through philanthropy. While the foundation does not accept funding inquiries and does not have grant cycles, it invests in accelerating opportunities by connecting others, providing expertise, encouraging learning and sharing, and helping people engage with each other.

The Patterson Foundation’s future work evolves from existing engagements and initiatives. With more than 20 initiatives at any time, the foundation determines when and where there might be alignment for future endeavors. We are not accepting requests for new initiatives at this time.

Where is The Patterson Foundation located?

The foundation is based in Sarasota, Florida:
2 N. Tamiami Trail
Suite 206
Sarasota, Florida 34236

How can I contact The Patterson Foundation?

Begin by exploring this website, which has extensive information for those interested in learning more about our approach and work. Learn more about how to connect with us.

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