At the core of The Patterson Foundation's approach to its efforts is building a culture of knowledge sharing. There is no reason for any organization to reinvent the wheel when successes can be shared, strengthening impact in communities. It is in our best collective interest to "share cookies" with others so our greater community can be better equipped to confront challenges ahead. The nonprofit sector, in its essence and identity, aspires to be a sector of organizations that do good for the community. Since the community is only as strong as its weakest link, we must ensure no link is weak and all are strengthened.

In this spirit, TPF hosted Thrive and Dine, a convening of nonprofits participating in Margin & Mission Ignition, part of TPF's Nonprofit Thrivability initiative. Hosted at the Sarasota Art Museum, leadership from participating nonprofits gathered for a catered breakfast and lunch to share knowledge, strategies, and approaches. This allowed participating NPOs to connect, learn, and share their ideas around earned-income ventures developed through the MMI program. Some NPOs recently began the coaching segment of the implementation of their business plan. Other NPOs are in the midst of developing their earned-income dream or nearing completion. Wherever organizations may fall in their MMI consulting process, the opportunity to participate benefits NPO leadership. Unique to this gathering, ideas flow at lightning speed through a series of engaging, thoughtful, and nugget-filled presentations.

As the event continues, it becomes apparent that spreading a culture of knowledge sharing throughout the community can move us from silos to systems, building a network of professionals who can connect and support one another across organizational lines. These relationships are built through catalytic events like Thrive and Dine. Impressive and diverse topics presented by NPOs at the gathering flowed in abundance.

When leaders shared their successes, it wasn't just about doing a show and tell. It was about discovering areas where other NPOs were wrestling with similar challenges. This confirmed the value of knowledge sharing through The Thrive and Dine.

During the presentations, we heard from Tom Melville with The Literacy Council of Sarasota about how to "let videos move messaging to drive the mission." We heard from Deborah Kenny with Tidewell Hospice, who shared the importance of marketing to drive customers to their retail stores. Janene Amick with Manatee Performing Arts Center shared the value of hand-written thank you notes to donors. We had CEOs, development directors, programmatic leadership, board members, and others contributing to the conversation, building ideas, and inspiring thoughtfulness around how we can be even better at serving our community. The presentations were thought-starts that prompted organizations to shift and evolve with their ideas.

Sometimes the knowledge shared isn't new but a reminder or affirmation of excellence. Regardless of the mission, the methodologies can be applied to operational strategies for the masses. Not to mention, all had a ton of fun, affirming that important work can be done with joyful stewardship.

While a literacy council may think they have little in common with a hospice, we learned that they both would confront similar challenges in pursuing their missions with excellence—and thus, might benefit from connecting and learning from one another. Equipping NPO leadership with the strategies and tools to implement more effective practices for their operations, both within their earned-income venture and on an organization-wide level, is all part of the magic that happens at Thrive and Dine.

There's something to be said about calories and conversation that result in creative connecting. It's human nature to come together at the table and convene around food, and that is the beauty of a TPF Thrive and Dine.

Bon appetite!

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