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COVID-19 Response

March 2020 — DECEMBER 2021

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Response

At the dawn of the new decade, COVID-19 emerged as an unprecedented disaster that disrupted individuals, organizations, and communities near and far. The Patterson Foundation worked with community advocates across Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties to inform and engage people around preventing COVID-19 and the precautions necessary to achieve a healthy, thriving Suncoast.

Strengthening the Impact

The Patterson Foundation quickly moved beyond coping into adapting to COVID-19 by embracing digital platforms and creating innovative networks and opportunities for engagement while leveraging time-tested collaborations poised to boost recovery efforts and the organizations behind them. From there, The Patterson Foundation moved into innovating how it strengthens people, organizations, and communities through each of its initiatives focused on caring, connecting, collaborating, contributing, and creating.

The Patterson Foundation’s COVID-19 Response initiative was powered by two teams working in tandem: a convening team and a communications team. The convening team worked with the Florida Department of Health to share and strengthen efforts across the region. The communications team worked to share established learnings on preventing COVID-19 and up-to-date data with community advocates. The communications team was supported by Aspirations Journalism and published a weekly newsletter for community influencers, “Amplifying What Works.”

In an effort to promote vaccinations throughout the Suncoast, The Patterson Foundation and its strategic communications partner, MagnifyGood, partnered with regional media outlets to provide timely medical information from local physicians in English and Spanish while encouraging people to get vaccinated and move one step closer to a post-COVID world.

Beyond the COVID-19 Response initiative, The Patterson Foundation worked to strengthen people, organizations, and communities coping with the pandemic through the following initiatives and endeavors:

Advancing Mission Thrivability
  • In collaboration with No Margin, No Mission, The Patterson Foundation launched Advancing Mission Thrivability, a valuable opportunity for organizations with an up-to-date profile on The Giving Partner. Advancing Mission Thrivability is a series of FREE Zoom sessions — called labinars and webversations — that serve as a vehicle for EDs / CEOs, board members, and staffers to explore ways to strengthen their organizations and build mission impact. Following the Zoom sessions, up to 15 organizations with demonstrated interest, need, and preparedness to delve deeper into the work were offered the opportunity to receive 1:1 virtual consultation support from No Margin, No Mission, underwritten by The Patterson Foundation.

Advancing Philanthropic Leadership
  • With five days notice, The Patterson Foundation morphed the weeklong study away portion of “The Future of the Philanthropic Sector” experiential learning course into a totally virtual experience and converted a session on the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s graduate certificate and master’s programs into a webinar.

  • To strengthen efforts addressing the pandemic’s severe effect on older generations, The Patterson Foundation invested in BellAge, a public benefit company harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies that enable millions of older adults across the world to age better. The Patterson Foundation strengthened BellAge by providing financial and project support while connecting it with partners aligned with the company’s mission and focus. The Patterson Foundation also strengthened regional participation in the Florida Department of Elder Affairs’ (DOEA) Florida Safe Survey, which is powered by BellAge’s CV19 CheckUp system. CV19 CheckUp helps individuals understand how certain behaviors can increase their risk of infection and how they can mitigate those risks. The survey is free and available in English and Spanish.

2020 Giving Challenge
  • The Patterson Foundation contributed $7.5 million to the 2020 Giving Challenge through a 1:1 match for all unique donations between $25 and $100 per donor, per nonprofit organization — in addition to $51,000 in prizes for nonprofit organizations that cultivated the highest number of unique donors. The contribution strengthened our caring community’s generosity as it raised $18.4 million in unrestricted funding for nearly 700 nonprofits amid the COVID-19 pandemic — the greatest Giving Challenge total to date.


Patriot Plaza
  • The Patterson Foundation’s commitment to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans and military families led to The Patterson Foundation making a one-time $50,000 gift to Wreaths Across America at Sarasota National Cemetery. Wreaths Across America is one organization that has faced new challenges this year in its mission to honor our nation’s heroes by providing donated wreaths for the headstones of the veterans laid to rest throughout our national cemeteries.

Season of Sharing

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
  • In collaboration with The Florida Center for Early Childhood, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading created and presented a series of webinars designed to help parents and children talk about and deal with COVID-19 in ways that are honest, accurate, and minimize anxiety.

  • The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading created a new iteration of its book circles focused on The Power of Presence. Webinars and follow-up discussions on Zoom featuring author Joy Thomas Moore share how the seven pillars of presence—heart, faith, courage, financial freedom, values, and connectedness—can help guide families through these challenging times.

  • The Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge was reformatted for summer programs serving a limited number of children on-site, as well as those operating virtually. The annual Blast Off event initiating the Suncoast Summer Book Challenge was held virtually.

  • To continue inspiring children to become confident readers, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading produced THIS BOOK IS COOL!, a series of 100 webisodes focused on 100 books for students in grades Pre-K – 3 featuring special guests, vocabulary lessons, and fun follow-up activities. Books were distributed to qualifying children from Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties on a weekly basis over the summer.

  • Mind in the Making coffee chats for facilitators went virtual, and training for community members was reformatted and delivered virtually.
Join streamdigital host Lisa Moody for an energizing interview with Debra M. Jacobs, president & CEO of The Patterson Foundation.


strengthening the impact

Join streamdigital host Lisa Moody for an energizing interview with Debra M. Jacobs, president & CEO of The Patterson Foundation.


Click on frequently asked questions to learn more about The Patterson Foundation’s COVID-19 response…

Why did The Patterson Foundation support COVID-19 response efforts?

Since its inception, The Patterson Foundation has engaged when disaster strikes. Understanding that disaster takes many forms, The Patterson Foundation works to create outcomes that strengthen communities recovering from challenging circumstances like COVID-19. The myriad ways COVID-19 impacted people, organizations, and communities necessitated an equally diverse range of response efforts with the flexibility to support recovery. This included creating and embracing opportunities that allowed The Patterson Foundation’s initiatives to innovate as conditions evolved. Through the COVID-19 Response initiative, The Patterson Foundation worked to stay connected with public health experts and help bridge the community with the necessary resources and information to maintain a healthy, thriving Suncoast.

Why were there two teams in the COVID-19 Response initiative?

Both teams engaged in the COVID-19 Response initiative worked together closely. The convening team concentrated on supporting and learning from county public health experts, while the communications team worked to share established learnings and up-to-date data with community advocates. This approach ensured the right assets were matched to the task at hand.

How can I sign up for the Amplifying What Works newsletter?

The Amplifying What Works newsletter will no longer be published as of Jan. 1, 2022. You can view past editions of the newsletter here.

Where can I find information about COVID-19?

Where can I find information about vaccine and testing locations?

For more information about vaccine and testing locations, please visit one of the resources below for Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties:

Florida Charlotte
Additional Resources

Where can I find helpful COVID-19 mental health resources?

To find local and national information about mental health and COVID-19, visit one of the resources below.


Where can I find COVID-19 data?

Multiple resources are providing COVID-19 data for Florida. The Amplifying What Works newsletter used data from The New York Times and Florida Health's weekly COVID-19 data report (scroll down to find the latest report).

Click to access John Hopkins and The Resilient American Communities (RAC) Network's data.

You can find a list of confirmed COVID-19 cases for each school in your district during the school year by viewing their COVID cases dashboards based on your children's school district: Manatee County Schools, Sarasota County Schools, School District of DeSoto County, and Charlotte County Schools.

What was Aspirations Journalism?

Through a partnership between journalism and philanthropy, Aspirations Journalism was an initiative to share information and engage communities through stories that encouraged people to be part of the solution and take action. While examining relevant social issues, Aspirations Journalism focused on motivating, innovating, and collaborating through the lenses of The Patterson Foundation’s initiatives.

Where can I learn more about The Patterson Foundation’s response to COVID-19?

You can view archived editions of the Amplifying What Works newsletter here or you can read relevant blogs here.

Take the Florida Safe Survey

The Patterson Foundation, which has collaborated previously with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) on the Age-Friendly Sarasota initiative, is strengthening its efforts to drive participation in the Florida Safe Survey by connecting residents in its home region of Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties with the survey and its resources. The Florida Safe Survey is an online survey that allows residents, especially older adults, to make important self-assessments on their COVID-19 behaviors through the DOEA. The Florida Safe Survey is powered by CV19 CheckUp, a hyper-personalized online tool developed by BellAge, Inc.
The Patterson Foundation takes safety seriously in this light-hearted song parody about reopening the office.
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