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    Connecting People Through Green Space

    By Kelly Medinger


    Friends of Patterson Park uses cash flow loan to boost operations

    Patterson_Park_2.jpgYou might see them in chest waders scooping debris out of the lake with pool skimmers.  Or mulching trees.  Or inspecting playground equipment for safety.  In all cases, the Friends of Patterson Park will be helping to steward the resource that is near and dear to their hearts:  Patterson Park.


    The Past and the Present

    The first known resident of what is now Patterson Park arrived in 1669.  A lot has happened in the last 340 years, and now Friends of Patterson Park, which was founded in 1998, is working with more than 600 volunteers to preserve and enhance all that the Park offers.


    Kathy Harget, who joined Friends of Patterson Park as the new Executive Director in the summer of 2011, sees how the mission extends beyond the physical space:  “The green spaces in our city are a perfect connector to bring neighborhoods together.  Hosting the right programs can attract a whole lot of diverse people who otherwise may not have met each other.” 


    Transition to the Future

    The Knott Foundation stepped in to help Friends of Patterson Park in late 2011 through a Program-Related Investment (PRI).  PRIs, also referred to as cash flow loans, provide nonprofits with access to capital at lower interest rates and at shorter turnaround times than might otherwise be available.  For Friends of Patterson Park, some of their fundraising activities, including a major event for corporate donors, had been delayed with the leadership transition, so the organization needed a boost to carry them through the fall. 


    The result?  Friends of Patterson Park received a $25,000 loan from the Knott Foundation.  With

    sufficient financial footing, they were able to meet or exceed all of their fundraising goals, including hosting a corporate fundraiser that brought in $10,000 more than budgeted; receiving increased

    annual grants from two foundations; exceeding individual giving goals with the help of the State’s tax credit program; and meeting a $15,000 matching grant from the Meyerhoff Foundation in just 45 days.  The year finished with a cash surplus, and the Friends paid the loan back to the Knott Foundation early.


    “This is a new chapter in the history of the Friends of Patterson Park,” states Harget.  Indeed it is, and the Knott Foundation is honored to be a part of it.