The Patterson Foundation History

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The Chicago Tribune

Medill Buys the Tribune

Joseph Medill bought into the failing Chicago Tribune and transformed it into one of the most prominent newspapers in the nation, using it to help create the Republican Party and get Abraham Lincoln elected president.

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Joseph Medill


Medill Elected Mayor of Chicago

Joseph Medill, Jim Patterson's great-grandfather, was elected Mayor of Chicago to help lead the city out of the devastating aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire.

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The Daily News


Capt. Patterson Creates The Daily News

James Patterson's father, Capt. Joseph Medill Patterson, who worked in editorial for the Chicago Tribune, left Chicago to create The Daily News in New York City, which is considered the first “tabloid” in history because of its innovative use of photos and comics to tell the news.

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James Patterson


James Patterson is Born in Ossining, NY

James (Jim) Joseph Patterson, son of Capt. Joseph Medill Patterson and Mary King, the first woman editor of The Daily News, is born in England and raised in Ossining, NY.

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Radio and Television


The First Broadcast Licenses In New York and Chicago

Working together, The Chicago Tribune and The Daily News secured the first radio and television broadcast licenses in Chicago and New York.

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Jim and Dorothy


Jim Patterson and Dorothy Clarke Meet for the First Time

James Patterson meets his future wife, Dorothy (Dot) Marie Clarke, in a school run by St. Augustine Catholic Church in Ossining, NY. The couple begin dating in high school.

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Graduation and a Marriage


Jim Graduates from West Point and Marries Dorothy

Jim Patterson graduates from West Point and marries his high school sweetheart Dorothy Clarke.

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Captain Patterson


Jim achieves Rank of Captain

Jim Patterson goes on to achieve the rank of Captain in the United States Army while serving in posts in the United States and Japan.

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The Daily News


Jim Joins The Daily News

Jim Patterson joined The Daily News as a reporter in its Washington Bureau.

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A Promotion


VP and Assistant Manager of The Daily News

After working various positions, Jim Patterson becomes vice president and assistant managing editor of The Daily News.

Aerial view of Longboat Key, FL



Jim and Dorothy Retired to Sarasota

Jim and Dorothy Patterson retire to Longboat Key in Sarasota, Fla., and become very active in the community while maintaining their trademark down-to-earth personalities.

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Jim Passes


Jim Patterson Passes Away

Jim Patterson passes away at age 69 due to complications from his diabetes. He leaves his extensive family wealth to his wife, Dorothy.

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A Legacy Begins


Dorothy Creates The Patterson Foundation

Dorothy Patterson creates a trust named The Patterson Foundation with a corpus of $3 million. Dorothy was never one to consider herself “rich” and she felt that the money left to her was not hers alone, so she practiced “kitchen-table philanthropy” and supported community charities close to her heart.

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Dorothy Passes


Dorothy Patterson Passes Away

Dorothy Patterson passes away at age 85. Her personal estate was left to the Foundation, building the corpus to approximately $200 million. Dorothy Clarke Patterson’s estate made one of the 10 largest charitable bequests in the United States in 2008.

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The Designation Committee


A Formalized Governance

The Patterson Foundation trust formalizes its governance structure and names three members to its Designation Committee. After a nationwide search, Debra Jacobs is named the first President and CEO of The Patterson Foundation.

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An "unfettered charter"


The Foundation's Work Begins

With its unique “unfettered charter” of no stipulations of geographic or issue focus, The Patterson Foundation created nine legacy initiatives to honor the Patterson family legacy. This unique charter gave foundation leaders flexibility, opportunity and responsibility to be imaginative in philanthropy for increased impact.