The Patterson Foundation (TPF) recently welcomed the three launched fellows back to TPF’s office for a weekend of reflection, collaboration, and fun. For me, this consisted of reconnecting with previous colleagues from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Abby and John, and meeting Hannah in person for the first time.

Throughout the thoughtful and action-packed weekend, Debra asked each of the seven fellows, “What is something you know now that you wished you knew then?”. Answers were full of gratitude and enthusiasm for the experience that the fellowship brings. The process from interview to launch is caring, striving for excellence, and evolving. I pondered this question over the weekend as this was the first time all fellows had been together, and on the final day shared my thoughts…

One piece of TPF’s Advancing Philanthropic Leadership initiative is TPF Beyond, and TPF doesn’t stand for The Patterson Foundation. TPF Beyond takes a different approach and stands for “To Propel Fellows Beyond.”

When I started as a fellow, I heard about this idea of a network of fellows, but it wasn’t until we all gathered that I truly understood the power of it. TPF Beyond is an intentional approach to amplify and strengthen the TPF Fellows network with the value and guiding principle: “Knowing our differences create our strength.”

While there are seven of us now, the program will continue to grow and shape with diversity in experience, interests, and career opportunities. As the program grows, TPF’s reach to the philanthropic sector through fellows will as well. Currently, the three launched fellows reside in different states, doing different work through different focus areas. Each has different experiences and brings a new perspective to the table. As a current fellow, the idea of a network of fellows with different ideas, experiences, and perspectives excites me for all the possibilities to explore and question the field together. There are already plans being made to gather us all again to look at topics in philanthropy and unique approaches to continue evolving the field.

I have great enthusiasm to be a part of TPF Beyond and to learn from practitioners in the field while sharing my own experience. It’s a joy to be a part of a unique opportunity this early in my career, and I look forward to sharing this with others as my fellowship (including after I launch) progresses.

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