ASA's Aging in America Conference 2018

Building Connective Tissue Across TPF Initiatives

Posted on April 05, 2018 by Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation
When people ask if attending conferences is worth the time and effort, when done The Patterson Foundation (TPF) way, the answer is yes! When a TPFer participates in a conference, it is highly likely that TPF will be presenting a session—and indeed that was the case at the 2018 America Society on Aging’s Aging in America Conference #AiA18. But the TPF goal is to find ways to build connective tissue in between sessions to advance the overall work of TPF.

So how did it play out over two days in San Francisco in March 2018?

Shortly after arriving, No Margin, No Mission’s Larry Clark and I met with the Attendance Works (AW) leadership team for a mini-strategy refresh. TPF invested in a business planning development for this virtual agency who works nationwide on reducing chronic absenteeism. We also talked through the benefits of the MagnifyGood diagnostic done to build AW’s capacity. This relationship grew out of TPF’s work with the nationwide Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and has benefited the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

Following up on a conference call, I met with Next Avenue Content Director, Shayla Stern. While there is no funding opportunity, this digital news network produces content that relates to TPF’s various aging initiatives. At the end of our time together, Shayla said, “Wow, you sure have unique ideas!”

Dinner with National Council on Aging (NCOA) CEO, Jim Firman, led to an exploration of how Jim continues to morph NCOA with strategic shifts for even more significant impact. NCOA has surpassed its goal of improving the lives of 10 million seniors and is now developing its next #BIGHairyAudaciousGoal!

Thanks to Caring Across Generations (CAG) Director of Policy & Partnerships, Josephine Kalipeni, for reaching out. Kathy Black and I had a valuable conversation with Josie uncovering ways CAG could connect in Florida on Age-Friendly policy work with AARP Florida. During our conversation, Josie introduced us to Karen Fredrikson-Goldsen, a leader in the LBGT/Aging space, which is also a focus for CAG. When I asked Josie why she reached out to TPF, she replied that TPF’s website showed a unique approach of working locally but with regional and national partners and she wanted to learn more – serendipitously confirming TPF’s ways of using connective tissue to strengthen people, organizations, and communities.

It was a full house for the “Why Nonprofits Should Care about Earned Income” session where I presented with No Margin, No Mission’s, Mike Oxman and Larry Clark. This was our third year presenting, and the appetite of the attendees was palpable. At the end of the session, we asked for any AHA Moments… and one participant said, “This session was worth my conference expenses!” An indicator of the value was the reality that participants stayed upwards of an hour after the session! TPF has learned that its Margin & Mission Ignition initiative is not only valuable locally, but worthy of spreading beyond.

Before presenting their session on Florida’s Dementia Care and Cure Initiative, Kathy Black, Florida Department of Elder Affairs Bureau Chief of Elder Rights, Anne Avery, and I met to deepen the discussion on how Age-Friendly communities and Communities for a Lifetime in Florida can partner for greater impact.

Their session wove the many opportunities for further collaboration in the older adult realm, affirming that building connective tissue is at the core of heightened impact.

Check out more tweets from #AiA18.

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