Photo: Michael Zimmerman

Michael Zimmerman Joins 2021–2022 TPF Fellows Cohort

Posted on July 14, 2021 by The Patterson Foundation
Michael Zimmerman, a graduate of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI's M.A. in Philanthropic Studies program, is joining The Patterson Foundation as its newest Fellow. Through The Patterson Foundation's Fellows Program, Zimmerman will contribute his knowledge of effective philanthropy to the work of diverse initiatives strengthening people, organizations, and communities while accelerating his development as a leader in the space.

The Patterson Foundation's Fellows Program is a year-long career-building experience for future leaders to learn innovative philanthropic principles and share their expertise. The Fellows Program is open to graduates of the M.A. in Philanthropic Studies program at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the world's first school dedicated solely to the study and teaching of philanthropy.

"Each Fellow we have the privilege of engaging discovers and builds muscles that not only strengthen The Patterson Foundation's impact but also prepares them for heightened effectiveness in their professional journey," said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. "We are delighted to invest in Michael and look forward to the many ways he will make a difference."

The Fellows Program is part of The Patterson Foundation's Advancing Philanthropic Leadership initiative, which aspires to share the knowledge and insights gained through The Patterson Foundation's work with the next generation of community and corporate and private foundation leaders. This initiative includes a series of creative efforts developed in collaboration with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI to strengthen the capabilities of emerging philanthropic leaders.

"Communities, society, the country, and the world face many challenges today," said Abby Rolland, current TPF Fellow. "We cannot hope to address and hopefully solve these issues if we don't work collaboratively. I'm positive that my year at The Patterson Foundation has made me all the more prepared to partner with others to embrace and catalyze the change that we all want to see."

Zimmerman, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, is driven by morals and values which seek to pursue a world that never repeats the horrors of World War II and upholds freedom, justice, and equality for all. He began his career in the for-profit sector and soon after realized his passion for philanthropy and doing good for the world, which inspired his transition to the nonprofit sector eight years ago.

"We all play a role in making the world around us a better place for ourselves and all members of our society, leaving no one behind," said Zimmerman, who brings a robust understanding of innovative philanthropy earned through his extensive academic and professional career. While completing his M.A. remotely, Zimmerman served as senior development executive for American Friends of the Hebrew University in New York City. In this role, he was responsible for fundraising efforts, engaging individuals, foundations, corporations, and grantmaking institutions. Recently, he played an integral role in "Titans of Global Health," a virtual awards celebration that honored Dr. Anthony Fauci and the co-founders of Regeneron while raising more than $1 million. Zimmerman is also a fluent Spanish speaker. He studied a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as an undergraduate student and worked for a company on the canal in Panama for three years.

"The Patterson Foundation's Fellows Program will give me a unique — and once in a lifetime — opportunity to broaden my experience in the philanthropic sector in ways which will give me space to explore, ask questions, and make discoveries, impacting the way in which I continue to pursue my career in philanthropy," said Zimmerman. "Through my TPF experience, I hope to grow, be inspired, inspire others around me, and discover where and how I will apply both my professional and academic experiences to further engage and align my passions with my work in philanthropy."

For more than three decades, Indiana University and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy have prepared students and practitioners to become thoughtful, skillful leaders who inspire change. Students enrolled in its M.A. in Philanthropic Studies degree program learn through a combination of in-depth research, the study of the history, culture, and values of philanthropy, and hands-on professional practice in areas such as fundraising, volunteering, and civil society.

Zimmerman will begin working with The Patterson Foundation in Sarasota, Florida, this fall. He will be joining M.A. in Philanthropic Studies program graduate Connor LaGrange in the 2021-2022 Fellows cohort, the third cohort since the Fellows Program's creation. Future graduates of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy's M.A. in Philanthropic Studies program are eligible to apply for future cohorts of the Fellows Program.

"Michael and Connor bring a great deal of energy, positivity, and experience to all that they do. They are wonderful collaborators and thoughtful partners, and I have no doubt they will make a meaningful impact as the next cohort of fellows," said Pamela Clark, director of student services and admissions for the school. "The Patterson Foundation Fellows Program offers our graduates a special chance to address many of today's most pressing issues while continuously learning as part of an innovative foundation team. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the Foundation on this and other initiatives that help advance leadership in philanthropy."

For more information on the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and its programs, visit

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