It's easy to see the mutual benefit of a Fellows Program that both fosters and grows the next generation of philanthropic leadership while also benefiting from the skills and talent that each Fellow brings to the table for The Patterson Foundation (TPF). TPF initiatives and the four-county community benefit from TPF's unique partnership with Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the only school of philanthropy in the world. Over the course of a year, Fellows develop a deep care for and investment in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto, and Charlotte counties, contributing to new realities for people, organizations, and communities.

After TPF Fellows launch, great thought was put into how TPF can capture, in perpetuity, the ideas and visions of the very philanthropic leaders who were once Fellows to continue strengthening TPF and the Suncoast region. To Propel Fellows Beyond, or TPF Beyond, is a community of possibilitarians consisting of current, past, and incoming individuals in TPF's Fellows Program. Brought together by a common commitment to our values and goals, Fellows make up a diverse group of individuals striving to create the future as we imagine it can be.

So what are the Fellows creating? The easy answer is hard stuff. We're thinking about how to bring complex ideas to life. What are communities wrestling with, and how can we help? How do we connect people, organizations, and communities to learn and share knowledge and perspectives, foster growth and evolution, to strengthen and refine our community's ecosystem in integral ways that make it thrive?

Here are a few of the ways Fellows are pursuing these endeavors:

Beyond the Blog: Fellows are "sharing TPF cookies widely" through TPF's Beyond the Blog: a podcast series where listeners can tune in to a new and unique storytelling approach that puts the human element at the heart of each of the Foundation's initiatives.

Immersion: Fellows create an organization-wide immersion where TPFers convene for a day of building new connections and reinforcing current ones, learning about the Foundation's diverse and vast endeavors, sharing perspectives that ignite an evolution of strategies and what's possible, leading to an overall strengthened TPF workforce and communities that benefit widely.

Engaging with Multi-Language Families: Fellows are working diligently with partners across the Suncoast region, fostering critical collaborations that create new realities for non-English speakers and immigrants. While it's no easy task, this work is essential in moving people, organizations, and agencies from silos to systems and from scarcity to abundance.

There are 25+ more examples of how Fellows are immersed in strengthening the Suncoast region and beyond. The building blocks, strategic approach, and values learned during the Fellowship at TPF exemplify the precise aspiration TPF has for the next generation of philanthropic leadership. In order to change the world, we have to dig in and learn. Launching from TPF and landing at a new organization can invite the opportunity to share concepts and structural tools that can revolutionize how a Foundation works. From a Run of Show – which outlines every detail of an event or program – to a framework – the foundation for any initiative or project, laying out the essential elements of who, what, where, when, and why. For any endeavor, this is one of the most effective ways to bring alignment and effectiveness to the work.

TPF Beyond hosted its first all Fellows convening February 18–20, 2023, at TPF's office in Sarasota, Florida. Former Fellows Hannah Seager-Karnei, John Ferguson, and Abby Rolland joined current Fellows Connor LaGrange, Michael Zimmerman, Rachel Hettinger, and Kellie Alexander for an engaging discussion around the future of philanthropy and TPF. When Fellows met with President and CEO Debra Jacobs and the Foundation's Governing Board, diverse perspectives were synthesized to drive new ideas. Each year, this group will grow and reconvene in Sarasota to build upon the momentum, a testament to TPF's investment in future leaders and the "Return on Investment" TPF will receive as it brings back leaders in the field annually to contribute to and strengthen TPF, in perpetuity.

Focused on possibilities, TPF Beyond works individually and collectively to advance philanthropic leadership and philanthropy as a sector. Knowing each Fellow brings their own unique skills and strengths, all Fellows continue learning, growing, evolving, and stretching in pursuit of a more inclusive and vibrant world. For some Fellows, the journey is just beginning. For others, a new chapter awaits, undergirded by the essential elements of TPF that propel a Fellow forward to build a blossoming career and change the world.

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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