As I went from session to session at the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s (CEP) bi-annual conference, I was struck at how many themes weaved through the work of The Patterson Foundation (TPF). From the opening wisdom of CEP Board Chair Grant Oliphant on “how sharing perspectives can reduce other-izing those who are different” to Byran Stevenson’s poignant speech about being proximate to communities, changing the narrative, remaining hopeful, and that change happens when we are uncomfortable. TPF’s work with the Harwood Institute’s practice of turning outward walks a similar talk.
As I watched the Discovery Channel’s Sacred Cod documentary on the complex interplay between social and environmental issues, where the economic fabric of a community and the way of life for many can be torn apart, I thought of how TPF supports disaster response through its partners like Center for Disaster Philanthropy and NetHope due to Mother Nature, displaced persons, or disease.
As Triad Consulting Group’s Doug Stone taught us about how to give and receive feedback, I thought about how TPF’s culture is embedded in our daily interactions and how our values are ever-present in how we do our work.
Since collaboration is at the heart of every TPF initiative, it was easy to Tweet throughout our colleague Lodestar Foundation CEO Lois Savage’s session on “Strategic Alliances and Restructuring for Greater Impact.” The recent successful merger of the two Women’s Resource Centers was a solid example of the journey of exploration, alignment, and decision.
From the Top viola artist, Mira Williams affirmed how the arts and experiential learning offered through EdExploreSRQ sparks the soul and opens young minds to their aspirations. Solo performer and playwright Sarah Jones knitted the realities of diverse perspectives with each character she brought to life. What a reminder that TPF’s outreach to people where they are will make the difference in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Age Friendly Sarasota.
During the panel discussion on “Fighting Inequality,” the charts showed realities that remind us there is no one answer and no easy fix, but rather a moral imperative for action.
It starts with learning and understanding, engaging people, business, nonprofits, government, and media to build shared aspirations.
During the session on “Supporting Nonprofit Sustainability,” it was a nod to the value of The Giving Partner in reducing redundancies of paperwork for funders, and The Giving Challenge to attract unrestricted funds while building fundraising capacity. TPF’s Margin & Mission Ignition initiative builds thrivability for those with Leadership, Willingness, Readiness, Capacity, and Culture.
The session on “Philanthropy, Media, and Democracy” spoke to TPF’s New Media Journalism initiative that spawned LION Publishers and the SPIRE CoLab partnership with the Herald Tribune.
The closing plenary on the “Balance of Power: Perspectives on Philanthropy’s Influence” affirmed TPF’s approach of working in networks without grant cycles and with agile responsiveness as we learn and evolve during initiatives.
The final talk by Harvard’s Nancy Koehn spoke to the qualities of leadership needed to push the greater good boulder forward. She affirmed that everything changes so quickly, so we must be able to absorb information quickly and use it. She reminded us that we must always show up with dignity and decency. She gave the clarion call for responsible citizenship and relying on facts, but also to be aware of the nuances in opinions. It is how we commit to a worthy mission and then demonstrate flexibility in achieving shared aspirations that will make the difference. Speed is the enemy of good... we must allow time for stillness and reflection. Effective leadership nurtures and supports.
Yes, TPF’s mantra of Connecting, Learning, Sharing, Evolving, and Strengthening weaves through the Tweets: