• 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.)

Advancing Mission Thrivability

Advancing Mission Thrivability is an opportunity presented by The Patterson Foundation for regional nonprofits to learn a mission-centric, economically informed approach to decision-making for their programs, products, and services. Participating organizations are introduced to this decision-making approach over a series of online learning opportunities led by No Margin, No Mission, a national consulting firm and social enterprise. Following the online sessions, organizations with demonstrated interest, opportunity, and preparedness to dive deeper into the work have the chance to receive 1:1 consulting support from No Margin, No Mission.

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.

Age-Friendly Sarasota

Age-Friendly Sarasota is a countywide effort in Florida to promote active, engaged, and healthy living for people of all ages. Sarasota County is the first community in Florida to be recognized as an age-friendly community by AARP and the World Health Organization (WHO) and is part of a global network. AFS has developed a comprehensive sustainability plan by addressing WHO's 8 Domains of Livability. This action plan is currently in its implementation phase.

Aspirations Journalism

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

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.

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 is an unprecedented disaster that has disrupted individuals, organizations, and communities near and far. As our world continues to come to terms with the reality of the pandemic, it will continue to face unforeseen challenges. The Patterson Foundation is working 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.

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.


Compelling research shows that experiential learning and hands-on exploration are two of the most beneficial ways for increasing student engagement and sustained learning. These authentic learning experiences teach students in a way that strengthens their ability to retain information and make connections.

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.

Higher Waters: Suncoast Quality of Life

The Higher Waters: Suncoast Quality of Life initiative explores the realities of this phenomenon by connecting with experts and efforts underway to understand its effects. As it learns from their research and experience, The Patterson Foundation aspires to share its findings in various ways, including the creation of a repository of science-based, easily accessible data on rising water levels in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.

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.

Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Partnerships: Continuing Education for Early to Mid-Career Professionals

Philanthropic leaders have the power to chart a sustainable course for their organizations toward lasting impact. Beyond on-the-job experience and practice, continuing education opportunities offer a dedicated platform for these professionals to evolve their approach to leadership and change-making, resulting in stronger futures for their mission, organization, and community.  

John T. Berteau Opportunity Endowment Fund

John T. Berteau is the founding Chair and Chair Emeritus of The Patterson Foundation's Governing Board. In 1997, the foundation came into existence as a unique force for good in the Suncoast region of Florida and worldwide.In honor of John's service, The Patterson Foundation has established the John T. Berteau Opportunity Endowment Fund. This life-changing scholarship will help students attend Asheville School, just as a gift made John’s attendance possible.

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.

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.

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