Editor's Note: Joyful stewardship are two words that capture the essence of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading's Community Update Breakfast. We hope you will join us at GROVE on October 11. Click here for details and to register. * If you cannot come, please share this invitation with anyone who may be interested in attending.


The Patterson Foundation (TPF) holds joyful stewardship as a guiding value. What does this mean? Joy is a delightful emotion and keeps us motivated, moving for more. Stewardship is responsible management; in the world of foundations, that means being a "good steward" of money. At TPF, the words apart and together mean so much more.

Joyful stewardship began with Dorothy Patterson's request to "do good work." Upon starting as a Fellow at TPF, I asked President and CEO Debra Jacobs about her perspective on joyful stewardship. The very next day, this question was posed to the rest of the team on our daily staff Zoom call. Staff who have been with TPF since the beginning and fellows who are completing their first year all answered the question, "What does joyful stewardship mean to you?". Here are just a few remarks from TPFers:

  • Joyful stewardship at TPF is respecting all resources and demonstrating that it's good doing important work, but it's even better when you can be joyful about it.
  • Demonstrating hope and possibilities as guardians of Dorothy Patterson's gift is not one single act but a full state of being tapped from TPF's DNA.
  • Connecting and collaborating is not pressuring but meeting people where they are and when they are ready.
  • Joyful stewardship is like planting seeds or weaving a map. That way, we are here with flexibility when shared aspirations are discovered.
  • To TPFers, joyful stewardship also means loving the work they do, being intentional in all they do, and seeing endless possibilities when others may only see problems.
Recently I took part in a Pop-Up Neighbor Through Laundry event in Charlotte County. With expertise from The Laundry Project and the generosity of TPF, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) provided free laundry to 44 families, distributed snacks and food, and hosted celebrity readers as an activity for the kids. Upon entering the laundromat, families were happily greeted by joyful stewards eager to assist and welcome. In the SuperMatt, I witnessed firsthand the difference of joyful work. Beth Duda, director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, stated, "It's like a party in the laundromat." Throughout the 3-hour event, connections were made, laughs filled the air, and joyful stewardship took front stage.

Where do I see joyful stewardship in my work, and how do I live out this value? Well, something that has been very prevalent here at TPF is that time is our most precious non-renewable resource. Being that I only have a year scheduled with TPF, I approach every day with a positive attitude, an outlook for opportunities, and great respect for what TPF, and philanthropic organizations, represent.

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