• Milestones & History

    Milestones & History

    Learn about Dorothy and Jim Patterson’s family history beginning in 1855 and The Patterson Foundation’s milestones
    beginning in 1997. Timeline is provided in reverse chronological order.

Learn about Dorothy and Jim Patterson’s family history beginning in 1855 and The Patterson Foundation’s milestones beginning in 1997. Timeline is provided in reverse chronological order.

Illuminating TPF's Legacy

Illuminating TPF's Legacy

Acknowledging Time as a Resource

The Patterson Foundation (TPF) is known for its innovative approaches and metaphors summarized in TPF-isms. These expressions shape the narrative of TPF's initiatives. John Ferguson, a TPF Fellow in 2020/21, likened TPF's endeavors to a zoo, portraying initiatives as majestic elephants, agile zebras, and strategic alligators. In 2021/2022, Connor LaGrange's report cultivated a garden of growth, drawing parallels between TPF's work and nurturing plants. In this overview, TPF Fellow Kellie Alexander uses "Time as the most valuable nonrenewable resource" for the theme of the 2023-2024 Governing Board budget review narrative.


Creating Sustainable Impacts

A Mission That’s Both Wide and Deep

Strengthening the Impact

Join Lisa Moody for an energizing interview with Debra M. Jacobs, president & CEO of The Patterson Foundation. The Patterson Foundation encourages connecting and collaboration to strengthen people, organizations, and communities. With a mission that’s both wide and deep, the foundation enjoys a view of the entire region, its strengths, needs, and opportunities. Rather than having grant cycles or requests for proposals, it strengthens the efforts of people, organizations, and communities by focusing on issues that address mutual aspirations, foster wide participation, and encourage learning and sharing. Unbound by a particular issue focus or geographic area, The Patterson Foundation works to optimize opportunities to create sustainable impact in our region and beyond.


Grounded Firmly in Possibility

Grounded Firmly in Possibility

The Patterson Foundation Strengthens Individuals, Organizations, and Communities in Ways That Foster Wide Participation

TPF Fellow John Ferguson 2020/21 gives us a glimpse into what lies ahead for TPF’s initiatives.


Moving Forward During a Pandemic

2020 Moving Forward During a Pandemic

TPF Impact Reflections and Looking Ahead

Inaugural TPF Fellow Hannah Saeger Karnei shares The Patterson Foundation’s approach to philanthropy during the coronavirus pandemic.


COVID-19 Response


The Patterson Foundation quickly moved beyond coping into adapting to COVID-19 by embracing digital platforms and creating innovative networks and opportunities for engagement, while leveraging time-tested collaborations poised to boost recovery efforts and the organizations behind them. From there, The Patterson Foundation moved into innovating how it strengthens people, organizations, and communities through each of its initiatives focused on caring, connecting, collaborating, contributing and creating.
Advancing Mission Thrivability
Advancing Philanthropic Leadership
2020 Giving Challenge
Season of Sharing
Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s THIS BOOK IS COOL!


Exploring a Decade of Impact

2020 Exploring a Decade of Impact


From its inception, The Patterson Foundation has invested more than $100 million. What impact has that money made? How has it promoted lasting or evolving change? With these questions as guides, launched TPF Fellow Abby Rolland analyzed and crafted this report to gain a broad understanding of the change that TPF has inspired. Through quantitative data and qualitative responses, learn about TPF’s impact and how it has reverberated in the Suncoast region and beyond.


Honoring & Onward


On January 6, 2010, The Patterson Foundation launched under an unfettered charter to do good and do it well. Through its nine initial Legacy Initiatives, The Patterson Foundation honed its innovative approach to making a difference in our world — focusing on strengthening the impact of people, organizations, and communities that are working toward fulfilling shared aspirations. A decade and 25 additional completed and ongoing initiatives later, The Patterson Foundation honors those who have embraced and strengthened their impact through this approach while pursuing further opportunities to continue these collaborative efforts in its ongoing journey.


Fellows Program

2019 Fellows Program


Through a collaboration with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, The Patterson Foundation created the Fellows Program and welcomed its Inaugural Fellow Hannah Saeger Karnei. Through the Fellows Program, The Patterson Foundation aspires to create a network of future leaders aligned in their innovative approach to philanthropy.


The Bay

2019 The Bay


Through The Bay, the community is engaged in a multi-year journey to fulfill its vision to transform 53 acres of the city's most precious land on Sarasota's bayfront into a public park that is free, open, and welcoming to our diverse region, while offering fitness, health, cultural, recreational, and educational activities and events. The Patterson Foundation has strengthened and accelerated The Bay’s process by providing up to $5 million toward Phase 1 of its master plan, along with years of consulting and support to its leadership team prior to and during the master planning phase.


Giving Challenge

2018 Giving Challenge

Celebrating Our Generous Community

The buildup to the 2018 Giving Challenge was powerful. More than 630 nonprofits located in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties passionately shared their missions and the valuable work they do to make an impact. Since 2012, The Patterson Foundation has supported the Giving Challenge with match funding to inspire generosity. To date, the Giving Challenge has raised more than $39 million.


Age-Friendly Sarasota

2017 Age-Friendly Sarasota

Age-Friendly Festival

Turning an aspiration into a reality, the Age-Friendly Festival became the first community celebration in the nation to focus on lifelong well-being while connecting people of all ages. Offering a multitude of ways to "enjoy, experience, and energize," the Age-Friendly Festival filled the Sarasota Fairgrounds with its diverse activities on Saturday, October 28, 2017.


Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

2017 Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Receives Multiple Honors

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading received a variety of accolades during Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver. The Campaign was recognized for exemplary work to unite the community and engage families in an effort to increase reading proficiency and combat the challenges that can undermine early literacy.

  • All-America City Award
  • Pacesetter Honor
  • Excellence in Communications for Best Website
  • Excellence in Communications for Best Media Story
  • Excellence in Communications for Best Event

Giving Challenge

2016 Giving Challenge

Giving Challenge Breaks Records

Since 2012, The Patterson Foundation has supported the Giving Challenge, a 24-hour giving event benefiting more than 450 Southwest Florida nonprofits, with match funding to inspire generosity. To date, the Giving Challenge has raised more than $28 million.


Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

2015 Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Launches

Part of the national movement, Manatee and Sarasota counties in Florida develop a regional approach to improving early childhood literacy by forming the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading through support from The Patterson Foundation and other community partners.


Age-Friendly Sarasota

2015 Age-Friendly Sarasota

Age-Friendly Sarasota Designation

Through support from The Patterson Foundation and in partnership with community organizations, Sarasota County is the first in Florida to join the World Health Organization’s Global Network of age-friendly cities and communities.


Patriot Plaza

2014 Patriot Plaza

Patriot Plaza Dedication

More than 3,000 community members gather as the $12 million Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery in Florida is dedicated and donated to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration.


Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

2013 Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Enterprise Funder

With a network of more than 285 communities nationwide addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time, The Patterson Foundation provides technical assistance and strategic support to this national movement to increase early childhood literacy.


Legacy of Valor

2013 Legacy of Valor

Legacy of Valor Campaign Launches

Honoring veterans, inspiring patriotism, and embracing freedom in Southwest Florida leading up to Patriot Plaza’s dedication, the Legacy of Valor Campaign touches more than 475,000 people through 100 collaborative partnerships that results in 200 events honoring veterans and their families.


Patriot Plaza

2012 Patriot Plaza

Patriot Plaza Groundbreaking

Fully funded by The Patterson Foundation and developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Patriot Plaza in Sarasota, Florida, is a first-of-its-kind ceremonial amphitheater, which features art installations honoring veterans and their families for generations to come.


The Legacy Initiatives

2011 The Legacy Initiatives

Nine Initiatives Created to Honor the Family

  • Aging with Dignity and Independence
  • Arthritis Foundation – Florida Chapter
  • Bringing Science Home
  • Caregiver Connect
  • Collaboratory at Ringling College of Art and Design
  • EdExploreSRQ
  • New Media Journalism
  • Patriot Plaza
  • Sister M. Lucia Haas Scholarship Endowment

An “Unfettered Charter”

2010 An “Unfettered Charter”

The Foundation's Work Begins

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

2008 – 2009

The Governing Board

2009 The Governing Board

A Formalized Governance

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

"Early Journey" by John T. Berteau


Dorothy Passes

2007 Dorothy Passes

Dorothy Patterson Passes Away

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


A Legacy Begins

1997 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.


Jim Passes

1992 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.



1979 Retirement

Jim and Dorothy Retired to Sarasota

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


A Promotion

1958 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.


The Daily News

1949 The Daily News

Jim Joins The Daily News

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


Captain Patterson

1944 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.


Graduation and a Marriage

1944 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.


Jim and Dorothy

1936 Jim and Dorothy

Jim Patterson and Dorothy Clarke Meet for the First Time

Jim 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.


Radio and Television

1924 Radio and Television

The First Broadcast Licenses In New York and Chicago

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


Jim Patterson

1923 Jim Patterson

Jim Patterson is Born

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.


The Daily News

1919 The Daily News

Capt. Patterson Creates The Daily News

Jim 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.


Joseph Medill

1871 Joseph Medill

Medill Elected Mayor of Chicago

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


The Chicago Tribune

1855 The Chicago Tribune

Medill Buys the Tribune

Joseph Medill buys into the failing Chicago Tribune and transforms 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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