The power of philanthropy in our community

The power of philanthropy in our community

Posted on January 10, 2013 by Rob Lane

There are so many ways that philanthropy can and does positively impact our community. The Patterson Foundation recently invested in our community in such a way that is unique and will hopefully provide a platform for advancing Sarasota's many assets and aspirations.

I was lucky enough to join 10 other Sarasota community leaders to attend the Harwood Institute's Innovators Lab at the United Way Headquarters in Alexandria Va. The Harwood Institute is an organization that teaches communities how to make lasting positive change happen in their community. The underlying premise is that when enough citizens focus on their aspirations for the community they want to live in vs. what problems they feel they need to solve it changes the entire lens by which one sees their community. It is this “turning outward” that allows boundary spanning organizations the ability to rally citizens around the work that needs to be done to achieve one's aspirations.

Our community was represented by members of SCOPE, United Way Suncoast, Ringling College of Art and Design, The Community Foundation of Sarasota, Sarasota County Government and The Patterson Foundation. We all know how rewarding it is to go to a great conference and come back with a level of excitement and a "To Do" list of all that one wants to accomplish and then one has the challenge of sharing those great ideas with colleagues that weren't at the conference. Well, our community was the envy of the Lab. We are returning to share this information with our respective organizations knowing that we have six organizations and 10 other people that have shared the very same experiences.

So I encourage businesses, donors -- both individuals and foundations -- and funders of all kinds who want to make significant impact and lasting change think about investing in this unique way. Our group heard the same message, performed exercises together and plan to share our experiences as we come back and share what we have learned with the community.

The Patterson Foundation looks to create New Realities for our community and very clearly our time together created a new opportunity for not only those of us that attended to grow as a team but also an opportunity the organizations that were represented to be stronger and more effective. As a participant, it is my hope and belief that as we share what we have learned with the community, our entire region will be stronger, too.


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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