• Current Initiatives

    Current Initiatives

    The Patterson Foundation encourages connecting and collaboration to strengthen people, organizations, and communities.
    Learn more about our current initiatives:

    (Access the PDF file of the entire "Current Initiatives at a Glance" overview to download it.)

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: A Walk to Respect

As part of Honoring and Onward, in partnership with Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, The Patterson Foundation is proud to announce a staged reading of a new one-act play, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: A Walk to Respect — written by award-winning playwright Beth Duda, with original spoken word poetry by Cedric Hameed.

Advancing Philanthropic Leadership

Aspiring philanthropic leaders have the opportunity to catalyze innovations to strengthen people, organizations, and communities around the world. While the potential for these innovations is vast, harnessing it takes leaders who have the willingness, capacity, and foresight to drive long-term change — ones able to create a shared vision within their organization while engaging and collaborating across sectors to achieve our shared aspirations. Investing in nonprofit leadership development is an effective way to equip the next generation at the helm of our vital nonprofits and foundations with the experience, approach, and skills necessary to guide their organizations toward positive outcomes.

Aspirations to Actions: Building Trust, Strengthening Communities

The Patterson Foundation believes that change happens at the speed of trust. Aspirations to Actions aims to provide space for the first step in building trust - strengthening connective tissue. From uplifting people to facilitating community conversations, Aspirations to Actions is an adaptive and innovative initiative working to keep time with the ever-evolving challenges of today and tomorrow.

Aspirations to Actions: The Harwood Institute

Through the expertise of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, a nonprofit advancing positive community action by inspiring people and communities to “turn outward,” Southwest Florida is making community — not the conference room — the reference point for change.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) prioritizes its work on the recovery and risk reduction phases of disasters. The Patterson Foundation strengthens CDP’s efforts to be a resource to the philanthropic community by connecting the organization with others and by providing capacity-building support that enhances the organization’s ability to provide timely and relevant advice from experts with in-depth knowledge of disaster philanthropy.

Communities for All Ages

Communities for All Ages is an initiative strengthening opportunities that optimize quality of life for people across each generation. The Patterson Foundation is capitalizing on its experience and work in healthy aging to incubate national and global longevity movements in its home region to simultaneously localize and inform their efforts.

Community Preparedness, Recovery, and Resiliency

Our communities have long been vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and, more recently, increasingly higher temperatures and the pandemic. Disasters of all types have the potential to significantly alter our quality of life. Understanding the realities and dangers disasters pose can create opportunities to thrive beyond their effects. People, organizations, and communities are diligently examining this complex topic locally and worldwide, yielding compelling models, data, and learnings that can inform the Suncoast’s response to its challenges.

Digital Navigator Program

The Patterson Foundation’s Digital Navigator Program trains local organizations to connect asset-limited families and individuals with opportunities to obtain digital connectivity, devices, skills, and support. Through a series of trainings, implementation meetings, and knowledge-sharing sessions with other nonprofits, consultants help participants embed the responsibilities of the digital navigator into the organization’s daily work and culture.

Fellows Program

Aspiring philanthropic leaders have the potential to catalyze innovations to strengthen people, organizations, and communities around the world. While these opportunities are numerous, maximizing them takes leaders who have the willingness, capacity, and foresight to drive long-term change. Through over a decade of experience with innovative initiatives spanning the globe, The Patterson Foundation has shaped its approach to philanthropy into a valuable model for a network of future leaders who seek their continued professional evolution while strengthening the impact of their efforts.

Fueling Dynamic Fundraising

The Patterson Foundation created Fueling Dynamic Fundraising to explore the power of the partnership between a nonprofit’s board, staff, and CEO within the context of fundraising. Through an orientation webinar and a six-week virtual course custom designed in partnership with The Fund Raising School at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Fueling Dynamic Fundraising will uncover the significance of and possibilities resulting from a strong and vibrant board/staff/CEO partnership dynamic and how it can inform a successful fundraising program. To help participating nonprofits implement their learnings and explore new possibilities, The Patterson Foundation will provide 1:1 consulting support between course sessions and for one year following the conclusion of the course.

Giving Challenge

The Patterson Foundation supports strengthened giving during the Giving Challenge by providing matching funding and prizes that encourage people to be generous. Building awareness about The Giving Partner — an online tool providing comprehensive and in-depth information — and encouraging the tool’s use strengthens philanthropy in Florida’s Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties by helping donors make informed decisions. With the minimum gift amount set at $25, the Giving Challenge, held over a 24-hour period, furthers the idea that anyone can be a philanthropist.

Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Electives

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is the world’s first school dedicated solely to the study and teaching of philanthropy. Since its inception, it has demonstrated a commitment to training and empowering students and practitioners to innovate and lead to create positive and lasting change in the world. This includes its growing bachelor’s, certificate, and master’s programs offering students a mix of theory and practice.

Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Electives — Beyond the Check: The Patterson Foundation’s Approach to Innovative Philanthropy

Through a collaboration with The Patterson Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, "Beyond the Check: The Patterson Foundation's Approach to Innovative Philanthropy" is a one-credit course that gives students an opportunity to dive deep into how the foundation works, with President and CEO Debra Jacobs.

National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states, and more than 390 communities in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada to ensure that more children from asset-limited families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation — grade-level reading by the end of third grade.


Partnering with the world’s largest nonprofits and with technology innovators across the globe, NetHope is a catalyst for productive collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving to reimagine how technology can improve our world. Through catalytic funding, The Patterson Foundation supports NetHope’s information communications technology responses to disasters worldwide. The Patterson Foundation works with NetHope to improve information sharing and data-management strategies between NGOs, communities, and governments in locations around the world affected by disasters.

Nonprofit Internship Program

Aspiring philanthropic leaders have the opportunity to catalyze innovations to strengthen people, organizations, and communities around the world. Investing in nonprofit leadership development by supporting undergraduate and graduate interns is an effective way to equip the next generation at the helm of our vital nonprofits and foundations with the experience, approach, and skills necessary to guide organizations toward positive outcomes.

Nonprofit Thrivability

The Patterson Foundation’s Nonprofit Thrivability initiative shares opportunities for organizations to strengthen their mission impact by embracing a thrivable operating model. Nonprofit Thrivability works by connecting nonprofits with expertise and resources to learn concepts like strategic decision-making while adopting and implementing entrepreneurial principles to generate the revenue necessary to support and expand their operations.

Patriot Plaza

In 2014, through a first-of-its-kind partnership, The Patterson Foundation donated Patriot Plaza — a 2,800-seat ceremonial amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery in Florida — to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Patterson Foundation connects the community, including schools in Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties, with Patriot Plaza by working with the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, which facilitates Patriot Plaza Tours and EdExploreSRQ EdExplorations. The Patterson Foundation realized that the primary concern for educators when selecting any EdExploration is transportation funding. As a result, The Patterson Foundation began funding these field trips to Patriot Plaza for any school in the four-county area.

Patriot Plaza's 10th Anniversary

Our nation's national cemeteries are the final resting places for men and women who served our country with unmatched valor. Patriot Plaza, a 2,800-seat ceremonial amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery in Florida, features commissioned art that honors veterans, inspires patriotism, and embraces freedom. The space is a place of peace and reflection and exists for our community to honor veterans through ceremonies and events for generations to come. Patriot Plaza was dedicated and donated to the National Cemetery Administration on June 28, 2014, in front of more than 3,000 community members and dignitaries.

Season of Sharing

Season of Sharing is a time-tested and trusted resource that inspires the caring community to donate to help families in Florida’s Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties regain their stability following a crisis. Powered by a partnership between the Herald-Tribune Media Group and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Season of Sharing provides individuals and families with the critical assistance they need to get back on their feet, covering emergency expenses like medical bills, rent, child care, and transportation. Each year, The Patterson Foundation provides unique matching opportunities to spur further displays of generosity from community donors throughout Season of Sharing by strengthening the impact of their gifts.

Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a four-county effort in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties to help children from birth through 3rd grade, especially those from asset-limited families, succeed in life by ensuring they read on grade level. Part of a nationwide movement, the region is focused on addressing the most common issues and obstacles that impact a child’s ability to read through five solutions areas: school readiness, attendance, summer learning, family engagement, and health determinants.

Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund gives generous donors the opportunity to support long-term, long-range programs to sustain human service agencies serving people in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. To help our region recover with resilience, The Patterson Foundation strengthened the Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund through catalytic funding and matching donations.

The Bay

Fifty-three acres of bayfront in Sarasota, Florida, are designated for legacy development. The Patterson Foundation initially supported the work of this multi-sector community strengthening effort by providing expertise to the team of volunteers who developed the framework to create the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization. Following the positive response from Sarasota City Commissioners in 2016, The Patterson Foundation expanded its support by providing catalytic funding and consulting support benefiting the planning organization’s formation and work. With its continuing interest in helping the community achieve its aspirations through The Bay, the foundation has engaged a consultant to provide strategic expertise to the master-planning process.

The Gap

Through The Gap, part of the Digital Access for All initiative, The Patterson Foundation creates opportunities for eligible asset-limited families and individuals to enroll in the ACP program and benefit from low-cost internet and devices to foster inclusion and well-being — closing this enrollment gap.

TPF Beyond

To Propel Fellows Beyond (TPFB) is a community of possibilitarians consisting of current, past and incoming individuals in The Patterson Foundation Fellows Program. Brought together by a common commitment to our values and goals, The Patterson Foundation Fellows are a diverse group of individuals striving to create the future as we imagine it can be. Focused on possibilities, we work individually and collectively to advance philanthropic leadership and philanthropy as a sector. Knowing each Fellow brings their own unique skills and strengths, all Fellows are open to learning, growing, evolving and stretching in pursuit of a more inclusive and vibrant world.

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