Photo: Center for Disaster Philanthropy logo and TPF logo

Thriving Through Collaboration

Posted on June 29, 2021 by Patricia McIlreavy, Center for Disaster Philanthropy CEO
For almost a decade, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) and The Patterson Foundation (TPF) have worked together to support communities as they recover from disasters. Someone not familiar with TPF could be excused for thinking that this long-term relationship has been one of grantor/grantee, accompanied with the usual minutia of proposals, reports and, at times, power dynamics.

That is not, however, the TPF way. A shining example of trust-based philanthropy, TPF staff embrace their five constants of caring, connecting, collaborating, contributing, and creating in their philanthropic efforts and partnerships.

CDP’s relationship with TPF over the years has been nothing short of transformational for CDP organizationally and beyond us, for the field of disaster philanthropy.

Since 2013, TPF has given generously to CDP, 28 times in fact, and in ways that break any mold. TPF has donated to CDP-managed funds to assist communities in recovering from a range of disasters – from hurricanes, such as Sandy or Idai, to complex humanitarian emergencies, such as those in Syria. TPF has put forward matching funds and supported messaging to encourage other donors. They seeded the Gulf Coast Innovation Resilience Fund to identify best practices, lessons learned, and innovative experiments from the Gulf Coast to allow their replication in other areas of the world. Unrestricted support from TPF has allowed CDP to advance our institutional growth and development and to acknowledge our tenth anniversary.

Beyond donations, TPF has advanced the field of disaster philanthropy by creating opportunities for CDP to collaborate at funder roundtables and on panels, hosting dinners, and publicizing successes. TPF offered its partners access to their Fellows, providing CDP with much-needed staff capacity during the demanding early months of the pandemic. Due to our collaborations, CDP has been able to amplify its voice and accelerate our positioning in the field of disaster philanthropy.

And TPF did all of this as a result of attentive listening. Based on conversations, TPF actively explored where were the best points of connection between our organizations. TPF sought out where they could make the most impact and was propositional in advancing our partnership.

The result is a stronger, more visible CDP, better situated to guide philanthropy in their disaster giving strategy. The CDP / TPF partnership has brought vital resources to organizations worldwide that help people, families, and communities respond to and rebuild stronger after a disaster.

For the past decade, a Truman quote has hung in my office, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” TPF embraces this mindset in its efforts and takes it further, providing a road map for others to follow. I, for one, am happy to be a partner with them on this journey.

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