Perception is reality. If you are perceived to be something, you might as well be it because that's the truth in people's minds. – Steve Young

Did you know that there is no mandate that a foundation has to have a grant cycle? There aren’t any legal reporting requirements in terms of effectiveness of grants. The most prominent restriction on the operations of a private foundation is to give away 5% of their corpus annually. That means that there is so much room for creativity - bound only by the perception of what a foundation should do.

Not every fresh model will work for all circumstances. But, I offer The Patterson Foundation (TPF) as an example of what could and does work within the context of strengthening individuals, organizations, and the community. Picture TPF as a massive stove in a commercial kitchen. There’s 15 burners going at once with pots of all different sizes at different temperatures and stages.

In any kitchen, there’s controlled chaos. Creativity with the strict expectation of excellence - and a tolerance for failure. The Patterson Foundation initiatives are constantly having the heat turned up, being mixed with new ideas or put on back burners until they’ve simmered to perfection. It’s an approach that is additive rather than reactive.

The consultant staffing model that’s utilized at TPF is like a team of specialist chefs, all with their own role but oriented by the same mission — to do good, and do it well. While TPF, or any organization, can’t be all things to all people, like any good master kitchen, it’s an example to be emulated, built upon, experimented with, and taken to the next level.

Being a Fellow has offered me the opportunity to learn from master chefs, adding new flavors to the dish that will be my future. As the next class of potential fellows explores the opportunity of The Patterson Foundation Fellows Program, I’ll simply offer this — when you change your perspective, you change your world.


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