Photo: President and CEO of The Patterson Foundation, Debra Jacobs
Photo: Guests joining Beyond the Check
Photo: Students participating in Beyond the Check
Photo: TPF Fellow Hannah Saeger Karnei and students participating in Beyond the Check
Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Electives — Beyond the Check: The Patterson Foundation’s Approach to Innovative Philanthropy


Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Electives — Beyond the Check: The Patterson Foundation’s Approach to Innovative Philanthropy


Through a collaboration with The Patterson Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, "Beyond the Check: The Patterson Foundation's Approach to Innovative Philanthropy" is a one-credit course that gives students an opportunity to dive deep into how the foundation works, with President and CEO Debra Jacobs.


An impactful leadership-development experience based on The Patterson Foundation's approach, the course explored network building, values-driven work, creating value beyond the check, systems thinking, the balance between foundation leadership and community leadership, and the importance of communication. Assignments and discussions challenged students to think about what’s possible in philanthropy when we look beyond how things have always been done.
Click on frequently asked questions below to learn more about this endeavor…

Why does The Patterson Foundation support a course at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy?

Through The Patterson Foundation’s unique position of having an unfettered charter, it can undertake work in ways others are not doing, cannot do, or will not do. In that spirit, supporting a course that allows students to explore ways to make an impact beyond the check opens up possibilities for a new generation of leadership.

What does "Beyond the Check" mean?

“Beyond the Check” is a term for philanthropy that is dedicated to offering resources beyond just money. The Patterson Foundation has spent more than a decade working within the community to discover shared aspirations and create lasting change.

Who can take this course?

The first session of this course has completed. The class consisted of undergraduate, master's, doctorate, and professional development students. This course is expected to be offered again Fall 2023. It will be open to anyone in the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and their alumni network.

What topics did this course cover?

The course spanned six weeks with a different subject focus each week:
  • Week 1: Building Connective Tissue
  • Week 2: Values-Driven Work
  • Week 3: Creating Value Beyond the Check
  • Week 4: From-To/Systems Thinking
  • Week 5: Your Role as a Community Leader
  • Week 6: More Than Money – Strategic Communication
Beginning in week one, the topics built upon each other to offer a brief but holistic view of The Patterson Foundation’s approach to philanthropy

What have students shared about their experience in the course?

Students valued the diversity and perspectives featured in "Beyond the Check." The lessons held over the six-week span cultivated opportunities to make lasting connections with leaders in philanthropy while learning from their experiences. Through the course, the students learned creative, innovative ways to practice philanthropy that complemented their robust coursework at the school:

"Some of the themes I know I will carry with me into my future work include joyful stewardship, never arrive with the answer, change happens at the speed of trust, seek opportunities to build connective tissue, be IN community, and always ask, who else cares?"

"I want to take this opportunity to thank TPF for the time and energy you have put into this course. The content has been outstanding and incredibly useful. I truly appreciate your willingness to openly share the tools presented throughout 'Beyond the Check.' Your passion for your organization and those you serve is contagious. I look forward to staying connected and expanding our connective tissue."

"The last six weeks with the incredible professionals, consultants, and speakers from TPF has exceeded expectations. I have learned valuable techniques, exposed to different perspectives when working with foundations, nonprofits, or projects. I have made strides in personal and professional growth from participating in the 'Beyond the Check' course."

Interested in learning more? Read the blog series here:

Who can I contact to learn more about The Patterson Foundation’s relationship with IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy?

For more information, contact Advancing Philanthropic Leadership initiative lead Dr. Donald R. Bowman:

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