It All Starts With Connecting at The Patterson Foundation

It All Starts With Connecting at The Patterson Foundation

Posted on February 10, 2017 by Deborah Gauvreau, consultant with The Patterson Foundation
As I work with The Patterson Foundation (TPF), I have the opportunity to see remarkable results TPF is facilitating — what’s true is that it all starts with connecting.

Why is connecting so important? TPF’s approach is organized around the principle that to learn, share, and evolve, we must first be connected. Connecting encourages people to learn from each other by sharing and engaging on a deeper level. It’s at the heart of how TPF works and everything it does. When we truly connect, we can build synergistic systems, address community inequities, and dissolve silos. We open to new unthought-of opportunities, leave ego at the door and turn outward to understand more about each other, develop mutual aspirations, and achieve better outcomes.

With whom is TPF connecting? TPF weaves people, organizations, and communities together, strategically linking:
• Internal constituencies: CEO/Executive director, board, staff, donors, volunteers, beneficiaries
• External sectors: People, business, nonprofit, government, media
• Areas: Local, regional, statewide, national, global

Glimpses into ways TPF connects constituencies, sectors, and areas include:
1. TPF connects with national movements to facilitate the flow of knowledge and resources from the national level to the local level, then successful local strategies are shared with the national organization. Examples are the National Council of Aging (NCOA)/Aging Mastery Program® (AMP) and Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR).

2. On a national platform, TPF convenes funders at conferences to advance thinking and new practices:
• National Exponent Philanthropy – 14 funders
• Grantmakers in Aging to advance the AMP Philanthropy Network – 6 funders
• CGLR pre-session at Exponent Philanthropy – 45 funders
• Southeastern Council of Foundations leaders at SECF’s Annual Meeting – 9 funders

3. TPF brings nationally time-tested approaches to our area, examples include:
• Embedding Harwood Public Innovator principles: most recently nearly 100 Sarasota and Manatee libraries participated.
• Margin & Mission Ignition expanded earned income strategies, (eg: The Pines and Friendship Centers) and has recently begun working with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

4. Age-Friendly Sarasota (AFS) connects across all geographical areas with a full range of internal constituencies, organizations, and external sectors.
• Within its first year, relationships were built to leverage communications assets with the World Health Organization, Florida Department of Elder Affairs, USF, Sarasota County, and community organizations and members.
• AFS hosted an inaugural Florida Sharing Symposium with 15 communities.

5. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) connects broadly with national CGLR, other communities, funders, local organizations, sectors, and internal constituencies. The SCGLR further connects deeply into the community with families and their children:
• Dozens of nonprofits, schools, funders, community organizations, and individuals are doing meaningful work related to the SCGLR in both Manatee and Sarasota counties.

6. TPF supports organizations working together to provide healthcare to the underinsured/uninsured. The Sarasota County Health Safety Net System of Care Collaboration (SMH, Friendship Centers and, Department of Health):
• Connects people and providers creating better systems, better access, and better equity
• This collaboration created Community Health Centers of Sarasota (Federally Qualified Health Centers).

7. TPF demonstrates its collaborative philosophy undertaking philanthropic work others are not, cannot or will not do. TPF connects internal constituencies at the local/regional level recognizing that together we are stronger:
• Community Youth Development merged into Boys & Girls Clubs Sarasota
• Womens’ Resource Centers of Manatee and Sarasota became one organization.

8. Connecting people to giving opportunities in meaningful ways inspires communications enhancement linking donor inquiries to giving opportunities. Donors and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy significantly benefited from this work.

To contact Deborah:
Join Deborah on Twitter: @DeborahGauvreau

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