The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (LFSOP) is the world's first school dedicated solely to the study and teaching of philanthropy. Since its inception in 1987, it has demonstrated a commitment to training and empowering next-generation practitioners to innovate and lead to create positive and lasting change in the world.

Similarly, The Patterson Foundation's approach to philanthropy is to tap into expansive networks, movements, and partnerships that generate lasting impact regionally, nationally, and globally. The Patterson Foundation (TPF) focuses on strengthening the efforts of people, organizations, and communities by focusing on issues that address mutual aspirations, foster wide participation, and encourage learning and sharing.

The marriage of two driving forces in shaping the future of philanthropy was inevitable.

In 2018, consultant Laurey Stryker and President and CEO of TPF Debra Jacobs provided the foresight and pathway to develop the Advancing Philanthropic Leadership (APL) initiative in collaboration with LFSOP. Under the watchful and visionary eye of Debra and the leadership of TPF staff and subsequent lead consultants Joni Steinberg and Don Bowman, aspiring philanthropic leaders have the opportunity to create and engage in their desired futures.

The alliance between TPF and LFSOP has resulted in a 5-year relationship that has grown and strengthened the APL initiative. Planting an initial focus on providing a uniquely tailored, nonprofit experiential leadership development experience for LFSOP graduates resulted in the Fellows Program. Graduates of the Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies have a career-building opportunity by being immersed in TPF initiatives, access to networks of transformational leaders, and weekly one-on-one mentoring from the TPF's CEO.

Conversely, the graduates can provide and apply their skills and ideas and share their perceived frameworks of strategic philanthropy with TPF. During the first three years of the Fellows Program, one or more graduate students were selected each year. For the 2023–2024 timeframe, TPF welcomed three new Fellows.

Now, through TPF's "Launched" Fellows, the TPF Beyond network is poised to be a new network of future leaders.

A second partnering opportunity was conceived to benefit all enrolled LFSOP students and our Suncoast community. The Nonprofit Internship Program offers paid internships in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties in Florida. With a commitment of over 150 hours of work, students can acquire invaluable experience and a deeper understanding of nonprofit operations. Simultaneously, participating organizations receive support in completing their valuable projects. To date, more than a dozen Suncoast nonprofits have registered internship profiles, seeking dedicated interns to join their teams.

TPF also celebrates the development of its jointly-led LFSOP courses for undergraduates and graduate students each fall and spring semester. Under the guidance of Debra Jacobs, the curriculum is designed and taught virtually in the fall semester, whereas the spring course includes a one-week expenses paid Study Away experience in Sarasota. Ten students can deep-dive into professional experiences using TPF initiatives and approaches with nonprofit organizations in the Suncoast region.

Still, another generous program has been developed over the 5 years, opening up possibilities for a new generation of leaders – for TPF's own staff and consultants. The Tuition/Fees Reimbursement Program (TRP) allows enrollment in LFSOP graduate and professional development courses at in-state tuition rates. To date, two TPFers, Josephine Eisenberg and Stacy Sternberg, are near completion of the Graduate Certificate in Philanthropic Studies.

Always intentional about its unequivocal commitment to empowering practitioners to innovate and lead positive and lasting change in the world as well as in our own backyard, a new collaborative journey is beginning. TPF's Fueling Dynamic Fundraising (FDF), under the leadership of Sara Leonard, is propelling TPF into the next five years by adding learning opportunities through The Fund Raising School of LFSOP.

As we celebrate our fifth anniversary, the opportunity to deepen the roots that LFSOP and TPF have put down together is upon us. It will be exciting to see the fruits of our collaborative efforts over the next five years emerge…together we are true possibilitarians!

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