My journey into philanthropy began at my local community foundation and youth pod. The Community Foundation of Noble County is a beacon of light for my humble hometown nestled in Northern Indiana. It houses our county's youth pod, P.U.L.S.E. of Noble County, an inspiring group of students who celebrate community.

pulseDuring high school, I had the unique opportunity to take part in P.U.L.S.E. and ultimately serve as president my senior year. P.U.L.S.E., an acronym for Philanthropist Utilizing Life-long Service and Education, is one of many youth pods supported through The Dekko Foundation's Youth Philanthropy initiative. Members learn about grantmaking, community building, and this giant word called philanthropy that needs to be repeated and explained at least three times to almost everyone in the community.

In my senior year, I was also the beneficiary of philanthropy when named Noble County's Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipient, providing me with four years of tuition to obtain a bachelor's degree. Until then, my mind had been on health care as I explored vocational programs, including delivering babies and assisting in dental or surgical procedures. Through the process, I came to discover patient care was not for me, and with this philanthropic gift, I could explore my true passion, philanthropic studies. Throughout the next five years, I would embark on a challenging but inspiring undergraduate and graduate journey with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (LFSOP). Life led me down a path toward fundraising and development. However, courses and volunteer work in community health and lessons from vocational programs made me wonder what more could be done to impact health systems and communities.

While in the master's program, I realized how little I truly knew about the world around me. LFSOP opened my eyes. The program engaged me in thinking critically about broken systems, tough questions, and ugly truths…but tremendous possibilities. I was brought back to the reason an eighteen-year-old senior with a philanthropic gift to go anywhere made the life-altering decision to attend IUPUI and switch her major to philanthropy. There is work to be done, systems to evolve, and people to empower – "Be the architect of change or the tenant of the result."

I first learned of The Patterson Foundation through an elective open to students enrolled at LFSOP entitled The Future of the Philanthropic Sector: Experiential Learning with The Patterson Foundation. Through an ongoing partnership, students have the opportunity to glean insight from The Patterson Foundation's (TPF) experience and initiatives, opening up possibilities for a new generation of leadership. Needless to say, I was intrigued by the opportunity and leaned into my curiosities to learn more!

Now a TPF Fellow, I find myself immersed in a space built around asking questions and learning innovative forms of philanthropy that catalyze change with communities and hopefully, with one intentional step at a time, achieve greater impact and shared aspirations. CLSES – connecting, learning, sharing, evolving, and strengthening – is one of the many tenets core to the Foundation's work. These five words cover a visual displayed in my office, motivating me to arrive with an open mind and a whole lot of passion. To be a TPF Fellow is an honor full of possibility. Straight from walking the commencement stage, I am ecstatic for this year with TPF and the Suncoast.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.