Affirming Our Beliefs

Affirming Our Beliefs

Posted on December 03, 2015 by Pam Truitt

The Patterson Foundation recently hosted a dinner at GEO’s Collaboration Conference with a focus on funder collaboratives. Fostering and encouraging nonprofit collaboration is TPF’s space so the conference was a perfect opportunity to convene funders who are either in the space or interested in learning.

Working with funders and consultants, a dinner program was developed with the hopes of inspiring interest and conversation. A fun pop quiz, led by Bridgespan’s Katie Smith Milway, tested everyone’s knowledge. Milway’s material was from a recently completed study (, funded by The Lodestar Foundation.

Nonprofits report that foundations play a limited role in most collaborations. True or False?*

What type of collaboration does everyone want more of?

The Lodestar Foundation’s Lois Savage followed with additional information and busted a few myths.

Funders aggressively push collaboration but don’t want to fund it. True or False?***

Collaboration is generally a sign of weakness. True of False?****

Based on the feedback, I’d say that guests were very surprised about what they didn’t know. Table talk was intense and conversations ran long after the presentations.

For The Patterson Foundation, our beliefs were affirmed. There is great promise that collaboration can move the needle in achieving goals. As I shared with dinner guests, we have learned that collaboration takes many forms and there are always learnings that emerge. So, the journey continues!

Did you know the answers?  Which of your perceptions changed?

*True. In the majority of cases, funders played no role in supporting collaboration.


***True. According to information in a 2014 GeoFunders report only 13% of funders report they support collaboration often or always.

****False. Financial condition of merging organizations from the Lodestar/SeaChange Fund: Strong/Strong—19%; Strong/Stable—29%; Stable/Stable—25%; Strong/Weak—17%; Stable/Weak—9%;

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


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