When Media Partnerships Lead to Lasting Change

The Patterson Foundation of Sarasota, FL, believes in the power of partnerships to achieve greater results. It uses a unique model to collaborate with and support successful programs, leveraging existing relationships with subject matter experts to catalyze social change.

Central to the accelerator process is the role media plays in framing public opinion, educating the community and shaping the conversation around the issue at hand. A prime example is a public-private partnership the foundation established with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This first-of-its-kind partnership was formed to design and build Patriot Plaza, an enhancement to a national cemetery in Sarasota.

”It is important for funders to think beyond the press release. Media outlets at every level are looking for new business models.”

The foundation began a 3-year effort—coinciding with the time it took to build Patriot Plaza—to educate and engage the public about the sacrifices veterans have made and the freedom they have given the country. The foundation’s Legacy of Valor Campaign, as it came to be known, encompassed more than 100 partnerships. Using the call to action, “Freedom, Pass It On,” the foundation successfully raised awareness about veterans’ issues in general and garnered greater support for the Patriot Plaza project in particular.

“It is important for funders to think beyond the press release,” says Roxanne Joffe, who leads the foundation’s communications team. “Media outlets at every level are looking for new business models. The media’s goals aligned with the campaign’s, resulting in effective partnering.”

This partnership model included a contribution from The Patterson Foundation, which allowed the region’s main local daily newspaper to chronicle the Patriot Plaza project in an advertising insert that it produced. The project received the publicity it needed. The newspaper produced a new revenue stream. And corporate sponsors were seen as supporting veterans.

By creating an opportunity for the community to rally around a common cause—honoring veterans past, present, and future—The Patterson Foundation was able to produce a positive outcome for local residents, businesses and media.