Rachel PlossWelcome to the fourth edition of Beyond The Blog and perhaps the first, where we focus on only one initiative. If you are new, we are Rachel and Kellie, current fellows with The Patterson Foundation (TPF) and co-editors of Beyond the Blog (BTB), an evolution of The Patterson Foundation's storytelling approach.

This edition is about why we are here: TPF's Advancing Philanthropic Leadership initiative! It showcases interviews with our fellow fellows and looks into how the Foundation has strengthened each of us, the value different perspectives can bring to the field of philanthropy, and future opportunities the Advancing Philanthropic Leadership initiative has to offer.

Ten unique individuals have the title of TPF Fellow. We bring unique perspectives, skills, and experiences to the fellowship, and this summer, the fifth cohort will begin.

Want to know more about what the fellowship is in 4-minutes? Launched fellows Hannah Saeger Karnei, Abby Rolland, and John Ferguson share a glimpse.


Each of us became familiar with TPF in different ways and were drawn to apply for various reasons but with an overall calling to be changemakers. Joining TPF, a fully endowed charitable entity in Sarasota, FL, provides a unique experience for an Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy graduate to learn innovative approaches to philanthropy and the power of giving "beyond the check." For some of us, we joined TPF immediately following graduate school, while others came after a decade of experience in the business or philanthropic sector. Regardless, President and CEO Debra Jacobs saw great value in investing in us professionally and personally. Each of us can say with great confidence we are better because of this opportunity and TPF.

As you will hear in one of the podcasts, working for TPF as a fellow is like being a chef with 18 different pots on a huge cooktop. We must manage and know when to stir, turn the temperature down, and when one needs more ingredients. Working like this has allowed me to think strategically from the perspective of scarcity to abundance. The question is always, 'What resources do we have to address this right now, and who else cares that could collaborate on this endeavor?' Working with this mindset and approach has allowed me to grow my muscles in leadership, writing, project development, listening, and working with a multitude of people. [Rachel Ploss]

Following the master's degree with LFSOP, I had big questions about the role of philanthropy and my future career in the field. This drew me to apply for the fellowship, and each day with TPF, I am affirmed of my decision. TPF's culture of striving for excellence, encouraging wide participation, and constantly evolving requires big questions and innovative approaches. I'm grateful to be in a place encouraging learning and sharing (and my big questions) as I grow personally and professionally. [Kellie Alexander]

Learn more about the Fellows Program and the additional pieces of Advancing Philanthropic Leadership that build community and strengthen future philanthropic leaders.

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